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Dietary Zinc Deficiency in Rodents: Effects on T-Cell Development, Maturation and Phenotypes
Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine, Winnipeg, MB R2H 2A6, Canada
Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 April 2012; in revised form: 17 May 2012 / Accepted: 29 May 2012 / Published: 6 June 2012
Abstract: Zinc deficiency is one of the leading risk factors for developing disease and yet we do not have a clear understanding of the mechanisms behind the increased susceptibility to infection. This review will examine the interrelationships among the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal stress axis, p56lck, and T-cell maturation in both zinc deficiency and responses during zinc repletion. We will highlight differences between the adult mouse model (wasting malnutrition) and growing rat model (stunting malnutrition) of dietary zinc deficiency and discuss the use of various controls to separate out the effects of zinc deficiency from the associated malnutrition. Elevated serum corticosterone in both zinc deficient and pair-fed rats does not support the hypothesis that zinc deficiency per se leads to corticosterone-induced apoptosis and lymphopenia. In fact, the zinc deficient rat does not have lymphopenia. Thymocytes from zinc deficient mice and rats have elevated levels of p56lck, a signalling protein with a zinc clasp structure, but this does not appear to affect thymocyte maturation. However, post-thymic T-cell maturation appears to be altered based on the lower proportion of splenic late thymic emigrants in zinc deficient rats. Fewer new T-cells in the periphery could adversely affect the T-cell repertoire and contribute to immunodeficiency in zinc deficiency.
Keywords: zinc; immune function; T-cell development; T-cell maturation; recent thymic emigrants; p56lck; corticosterone; flow cytometry; rats; mice
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MDPI and ACS Style
Blewett, H.J.; Taylor, C.G. Dietary Zinc Deficiency in Rodents: Effects on T-Cell Development, Maturation and Phenotypes. Nutrients 2012, 4, 449-466.
Blewett HJ, Taylor CG. Dietary Zinc Deficiency in Rodents: Effects on T-Cell Development, Maturation and Phenotypes. Nutrients. 2012; 4(6):449-466.
Blewett, Heather J.; Taylor, Carla G. 2012. "Dietary Zinc Deficiency in Rodents: Effects on T-Cell Development, Maturation and Phenotypes." Nutrients 4, no. 6: 449-466.