To determine whether zinc has a specific role on intestinal growth and function, three groups of male weanling Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a semipurified zinc-deficient diet: ad libitum fed group received powdered diet and water containing 25 ppm of zinc; force fed (ZN, ZD) groups were fed identical amounts of diet to the ad libitum fed group by intragastric infusion three times per day. The diets were aqueous suspensions made with either deionized water (ZD) or water containing 25 ppm of zinc (ZN), and additional drinking water with (ZN) or without zinc (ZD) was offered ad libitum. Rats were sacrificed after 8 days of feeding. The ZD group showed growth arrest, perioral and periorbital dermal lesions, and abdominal distention within 8 days of feeding. Mucosal DNA, protein, sucrase, maltase, lactase, leucine aminopeptidase, and alkaline phosphatase were significantly decreased in the ZD group, whereas intestinal length, weight, and mucosal weight were unaltered. These results suggest that short-term isolated zinc deficiency impairs growth, digestion, and absorption in the rat small intestine, even in the absence of associated protein calorie malnutrition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health