The risk of herpes zoster (HZ) increases with age and declining immune function. Increased oxidative stress and inflammatory conditions may cause a negative impact on the immune responses.
The present study aimed to assess the levels of oxidative/inflammatory stress biomarkers in HZ patients compared with the controls. This case-control study included 43 HZ patients and 47 age-matched controls. Melatonin (MLT), Indole-dioxygenase (IDO), Interleukin-18 (IL-18), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), ferritin, C-reactive protein (hsCRP), and total homocysteine (tHcy) levels were measured and compared in both groups. The significant high levels of IDO, IL-18, IL-6, ferritin, hsCRP, and tHcy, as well as low levels of MLT were found in HZ patients compared with the controls (P < 0.001); these significant differences were also associated with rash and pain severity (P < 0.001). The final logistic regression model with the area under the curve (0.99; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98-1.00) showed the association of HZ with decreased level of MLT (odds ratio [OR], 0.95; 95% CI, 0.92-0.98; P = 0.007) and increased levels of tHcy (OR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.06-2.19; P = 0.02). The findings showed increased inflammation-associated oxidative stress in HZ patients. Elevated tHcy levels and reduced MLT levels may be associated with the manifestation of HZ. More investigations are required to confirm the results.