Supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin E or beta-carotene influences osmotic fragility and oxidative damage of erythrocytes of zinc-deficient rats.J Nutr 1997; 127(7):1290-6JN
Dietary zinc deficiency in rats causes increased osmotic fragility of their erythrocytes. In this study, the influence of supplementary antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E or beta-carotene) on osmotic fragility, oxidative damage and components of the primary defense system of erythrocytes of zinc-deficient rats was investigated. Indicators of hemolysis in vivo were also examined. Five groups of 12 male rats were force-fed a zinc-adequate diet (control rats), a zinc-deficient diet or a zinc-deficient diet enriched with vitamin C, vitamin E or beta-carotene. Compared with the control rats, the rats fed the zinc-deficient diet without supplementary antioxidants had greater red blood cell osmotic fragility, higher concentrations of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances and alanine, higher glutathione S-transferase activity, lower concentration of glutathione and activity of glutathione peroxidase as well as lower activity of superoxide dismutase in plasma (P < 0.05). Supplementation with antioxidants generally improved osmotic fragility in zinc-deficient rats without influencing zinc concentration or alkaline phosphatase activity in plasma, indicators of zinc status. At some of the hypotonic saline concentrations tested, vitamin C and beta-carotene significantly affected osmotic fragility. The zinc-deficient rats fed a diet without supplementary antioxidants had significantly higher concentrations of alanine in erythrocytes than the zinc-deficient rats supplemented with vitamin C, vitamin E or beta-carotene and had significantly higher levels of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances in erythrocytes than the rats supplemented with beta-carotene. There was no indication of hemolysis in vivo in rats fed zinc-deficient diets. The results show that supplementary antioxidants decrease osmotic fragility and oxidative damage of erythrocytes in zinc-deficient rats.