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Mech Ageing Dev. 2000 Dec 20;121(1-3):21-35.

Zinc, infections and immunosenescence.

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Immunology Centre (Section Nutrition, Immunity and Ageing) Research Department Nino Masera, Italian National Research Centres on Ageing (I.N.R.C.A.), Via Birarelli 8, 60121 Ancona, Italy.

Erratum in

  • Mech Ageing Dev 2001 Mar;122(3):353.


Infections may cause mortality in old age due to damaged immune responses. As zinc is required as a catalyst, structural (zinc fingers) and regulatory ion, it is involved in many biological functions, including immune responses. Low zinc ion bioavailability and impaired cell-mediated immunity are common in ageing and may be restored by physiological supplementation with zinc for 1-2 months, impacting upon morbidity and survival. This article reviews the role of zinc in immune efficacy during ageing, and also describes the main biochemical pathways involved in the role of zinc in resistance to infections in ageing in order to better understand the possible causes of immunosenescence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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