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M V Miceli, D J Tate, N W Alcock, D A Newsome; Zinc deficiency and oxidative stress in the retina of pigmented rats.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1999;40(6):1238-1244.
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PURPOSE: To determine the effect of moderate zinc deficiency on antioxidant defenses and measures of oxidative stress in the retina and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) of Brown Norway Rats. METHODS: Twenty-four rats were housed individually and divided into three groups of 8 rats each. Group 1 was fed ad libitum a semipurified control diet formulated to contain 50 parts per million [ppm] total zinc; group 2 was fed ad libitum an identical diet but containing 5 ppm total zinc; and group 3 was pair-fed the control diet but restricted in amount to that consumed by group 2. Food intake was measured daily and the rats weighed weekly. After 6 weeks, the rats were killed and the following measurements were made: serum zinc, serum alkaline phosphatase, retinal zinc, RPE-choroid zinc, RPE-choroid catalase, liver metallothionein (MT), retinal MT, RPE-choroid MT, retinal catalase, and retinal thiobarbituric reactive substances (TBARS). RESULTS: The following showed statistically significant differences between groups 2 and 3, respectively: serum Zn (1216 micro/l versus 1555 microg/l, P < or = 0.01), serum alkaline phosphatase (3.75 U/mg versus 5.10 U/mg, P < or = 0.05), liver MT (4.3 microg/mg protein versus 16.7 microg/mg, P < or = 0.0001), RPE-choroid MT (1.3 microg/mg protein versus 2.2 microg/mg, P < or = 0.02), retinal MT (0.85 microg/mg protein versus 2.8 microg/mg, P < or = 0.05), and retinal TBARS (6.2 nM/mg protein versus 2.2 nM/mg, P < or = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The results show that retinal MT and RPE MT concentrations are very sensitive to intake of dietary zinc. The increase in retinal TBARS in group 2 indicates that moderate zinc deficiency increases oxidative stress to the retina. The results also suggest that MT is protective against lipid peroxidation of retinal membranes.
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