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      Zinc: Mechanisms of Host Defense

      The Journal of Nutrition

      Oxford University Press (OUP)

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          Abstract

          Zinc deficiency in humans decreases the activity of serum thymulin (a thymic hormone), which is required for maturation of T-helper cells. T-helper 1 (Th(1)) cytokines are decreased but T-helper 2 (Th(2)) cytokines are not affected by zinc deficiency in humans. This shift of Th(1) to Th(2) function results in cell-mediated immune dysfunction. Because IL-2 production (Th(1) cytokine) is decreased, this leads to decreased activities of natural-killer cell and T cytolytic cells, which are involved in killing viruses, bacteria, and tumor cells. In humans, zinc deficiency may decrease the generation of new CD4+ T cells from the thymus. In cell culture studies (HUT-78, a Th(0) human malignant lymphoblastoid cell line), as a result of zinc deficiency, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation, phosphorylation of IkappaB, and binding of NF-kappaB to DNA are decreased and this results in decreased Th(1) cytokine production. In another study, zinc supplementation to humans decreased the gene expression and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and decreased oxidative stress markers. In HL-60 cells (a human pro-myelocytic leukemia cell line), zinc deficiency increased the levels of TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-8 cytokines and mRNA. In these cells, zinc induced A20, a zinc finger protein that inhibited NF-kappaB activation via tumor necrosis factor receptor associated factor pathway, and this decreased gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress markers. We conclude that zinc has an important role in cell-mediated immune functions and also functions as antiinflammatory and antioxidant agent.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Structure, regulation and function of NF-kappa B.

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            A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Clinical Trial of High-Dose Supplementation With Vitamins C and E, Beta Carotene, and Zinc for Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Vision Loss

            (2001)
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              Antioxidant effect of zinc in humans.

              Oxidative stress is known to be an important contributing factor in many chronic diseases. We tested the hypothesis that in healthy normal volunteers zinc acts as an effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. Ten normal volunteers were administered daily oral zinc supplementation (45 mg zinc as gluconate) and 10 volunteers received placebo for 8 weeks. Plasma zinc, MDA, HAE, and 8-OHdG levels; LPS-induced TNF-alpha and IL-1beta mRNA; and ex vivo TNF-alpha-induced NF-kappaB activity in mononuclear cells (MNC) were determined before and after supplementation. In subjects receiving zinc, plasma levels of lipid peroxidation products and DNA adducts were decreased, whereas no change was observed in the placebo group. LPS-stimulated MNC isolated from zinc-supplemented subjects showed reduced mRNA for TNF-alpha and IL-1beta compared to placebo. Ex vivo, zinc protected MNC from TNF-alpha-induced NF-kappaB activation. In parallel studies using HL-60, a promyelocytic cell line, we observed that zinc enhances the upregulation of mRNA and DNA-specific binding for A20, a transactivating factor which inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB. Our results suggest that zinc supplementation may lead to downregulation of the inflammatory cytokines through upregulation of the negative feedback loop A20 to inhibit induced NF-kappaB activation. Zinc administration to human subjects with conditions associated with increased oxidative stress should be explored.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The Journal of Nutrition
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                0022-3166
                1541-6100
                May 2007
                May 01 2007
                May 2007
                May 01 2007
                : 137
                : 5
                : 1345-1349
                Article
                10.1093/jn/137.5.1345
                17449604
                © 2007

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