Reprogramming of the immune system during zinc deficiency.
Fraker PJ, King LE.
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA. email@example.com
Thymic atrophy, lymphopenia, and compromised cell- and antibody-mediated responses that cause increased rates of infections of longer duration are the immunological hallmarks of zinc deficiency (ZD) in humans and higher animals. As the deficiency advances, a reprogramming of the immune system occurs, beginning with the activation of the stress axis and chronic production of glucocorticoids that accelerate apoptosis among pre-B and -T cells. This reduces lymphopoiesis and causes atrophy of the thymus. In contrast, myelopoiesis is preserved, thereby providing protection for the first line of immune defense or innate immunity. Changes in gene expression for cytokines, DNA repair enzymes, zinc transporters, signaling molecules, etc., suggest that cells of the immune system are attempting to adapt to the stress of suboptimal zinc. Better understanding of the molecular and cellular changes made in response to inadequate zinc should lead to the development of immunotherapeutic interventions.
PMID: 15189122 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5S Suppl):1399S-406S.The dynamic link between the integrity of the immune system and zinc status.
Fraker PJ, King LE, Laakko T, Vollmer TL.
Department of Biochemistry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.
The results of more than three decades of work indicate that zinc deficiency rapidly diminishes antibody- and cell-mediated responses in both humans and animals. The moderate deficiencies in zinc noted in sickle cell anemia, renal disease, chronic gastrointestinal disorders and acrodermatitis enteropathica; subjects with human immunodeficiency virus; children with diarrhea; and elderly persons can greatly alter host defense systems, leading to increases in opportunistic infections and mortality rates. Conversely, short periods of zinc supplementation substantially improve immune defense in individuals with these diseases. Mouse models demonstrate that 30 d of suboptimal intake of zinc can lead to 30-80% losses in defense capacity. Collectively, the data clearly demonstrate that immune integrity is tightly linked to zinc status. Lymphopenia and thymic atrophy, which were the early hallmarks of zinc deficiency, are now known to be due to high losses of precursor T and B cells in the bone marrow. This ultimately leads to lymphopenia or a failure to replenish the lymphocytic system. Glucocorticoid-mediated apoptosis induced by zinc deficiency causes down-regulation of lymphopoiesis. Indeed, zinc itself can modulate death processes in precursor lymphocytes. Finally, there is substantial evidence that zinc supplementation may well reduce the impact of many of the aforementioned diseases by preventing the dismantling of the immune system. The latter represents an important area for research.
PMID: 10801951 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free full text