[Effect of zinc deficiency on intestinal mucosal morphology and digestive enzyme activity in growing rat].Zhonghua Er Ke Za Zhi. 2011 Apr; 49(4):249-54.ZE
In this study, a growing rat model of zinc deficiency was established to investigate the effect of zinc deficiency on intestinal mucosal morphology and digestive enzyme activity as well as to provide a scientific basis for zinc supplementation therapy in patients with diarrhea.
Three-week-old weaned Sprague-Dawley male rats (n = 30) were randomly divided into 3 groups with 10 in each: rats in the control group (ZA) were fed with a normal diet containing 30 µg/g zinc; rats in the zinc deficient group (ZD) were fed with a zinc-deficient diet containing 0.4 µg/g zinc (refer to AIN-76 formula); and rats in the paired fed group (PF) were fed with a normal diet, but the food intake was limited to intake of rats in ZD group in the previous day. All rats were provided with deionized water for drinking. Their body weight was measured and the food intake during the previous day was recorded early in the morning of the following day. Symptoms of zinc deficiency, such as anorexia, diarrhea, dermatitis, and growth retardation, were observed. Two weeks later, the rats were sacrificed and serum zinc concentration was measured. Jejunal mucosa was taken for biopsy and was stained with hematoxylin and eosin (HE). The height ratio of the jejunal mucosal villi and crypts was measured. In addition, the activity of lactase in the jejunal mucosal brush border, γ-glutamyl peptidase (GGT), and aminopeptidase N (APN) were measured.
The average weight of the rats in the ZA, ZD, and PF groups at the beginning of the experiment was (67.4 ± 5.3) g, (64.7 ± 4.8) g, and (66.5 ± 4.1) g, respectively, and the average daily food intake was (11.2 ± 1.0) g, (11.6 ± 1.6) g, and (11.2 ± 1.4) g, respectively. The intergroup differences were not significant. On the 7(th) day of experiment, no significant differences in average food intake were observed between the ZD group and the ZA and PF groups, but the average body weight in the ZD group was significantly lower than that in the ZA and PF groups (P < 0.01). At the end of the experiment (2 weeks), the average weight in the ZD group (112.0 ± 11.5) g was significantly lower than that in the ZA (164.0 ± 15.9) g and PF groups (137.5 ± 16.2) g. The average food intake in the ZD group (13.4 ± 5.1) g was significantly lower than that in the ZA group (18.2 ± 2.4) g (P < 0.01). Serum zinc level in the ZD group (733 ± 231) µg/L was significantly lower than that in the ZA (1553 ± 159) µg/L and PF groups (1457 ± 216) µg/L (P < 0.01). The height ratio of jejunal mucosa villus and crypt in the ZA, ZD, and PF groups was 2.98 ± 0.5, 2.77 ± 0.5, and 2.81 ± 0.7, respectively, and lactase activity was (26.1 ± 15.0) U/mg, (27.4 ± 12.8) U/mg, and (40.8 ± 18.5) U/mg, respectively, without significant intergroup differences. The GGT activity in the jejunal mucosa in the ZD group (12.7 ± 6.5) U/g was significantly lower than that in the ZA (19.1 ± 10.4) U/g and PF groups (18.5 ± 7.7) U/g, but the difference was not significant. The activity of APN in the jejunal mucosa in the ZD group (25.5 ± 7.5) U/g was significantly lower than that in the ZA (48.7 ± 16.8) U/g and PF groups (43.9 ± 14.5) U/g (P < 0.01).
Zinc deficiency can cause loss of appetite, weight loss, and decreased activity of peptidase in the jejunal mucosal brush border. Zinc deficiency has little effect on the height ratio of the villus and crypt and lactase activity, thereby indicating that zinc deficiency may first affect protein digestion and absorption.