BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Zinc is an essential, mostly intracellular, trace element which participates in many oxidative or deoxidative reactions and in a protective action on liver cell activity. Plasma zinc levels are known to decrease in patients with liver disease including chronic viral hepatitis. The aim of this study was to reveal whether hepatic zinc concentrations have a correlation with grades of necroinflammation or stages of fibrosis in the patients with chronic viral hepatitis. METHODS: This study consisted of 50 subjects (43 chronic hepatitis B, 4 chronic hapatitis C, and 3 cirrhosis). Each specimen of liver tissue was classified with the grade of lobular inflammation, portal/periportal inflammation, and stage of fibrosis according to Scheuer's method. Hepatic zinc concentration was determined by ICP-Atomic Emission Spectrometry. RESULTS: The mean hepatic zinc concentration in the 50 chronic viral hepatitis patients was 233.66 g/g dry weight of liver tissue. The hepatic zinc levels were significantly correlated with the grades of portal/periportal inflammation (rs=-0.385, p=0.006), and grades of lobular inflammation(rs=-0.342, p=0.015). The stages of fibrosis were also negatively related (rs=-0.423, p=0.002). The zinc concentrations differed significantly among grades of lobular inflammation (p=0.013) and among stages of fibrosis (p=0.044). CONCLUSIONS: Hepatic zinc concentrations showed negative correlation with grades of portal/periportal inflammation, lobular inflammation, and stage of fibrosis in the patients of chronic viral hepatitis. These results suggest that decreased hepatic zinc concentration might be associated with severe hepatic injury and reflect decreased protective activity on liver cell injury.