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J Nutr Biochem. 2004 Apr;15(4):206-9.

Large doses of zinc oxide increases the activity of hydrolases in rats.

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Institute of Animal Breeding, Nutrition and Laboratory Animal Science, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Szent István University, Budapest, Hungary.


The effect of pharmacological doses of zinc oxide (1000; 2500; 5000 mg per kg diet) and two levels of dietary protein on pancreatic and intestinal hydrolase activity in rats were studied. It was hypothesized that ZnO would increase intestinal and pancreatic hydrolase enzyme activity. Male Wistar rats, averaging 64 g body weight, were randomly allocated to dietary treatments (chow diets- meeting all NRC requirements) containing 10% or 15% protein supplemented with additional ZnO (above 100 mg/kg ZnSO(4)) as follows: 0.0; 0.1; 0.25; 0.5% w/w. Water and food were provided ad libitum. Animals were fed the diets for 10 days and body weights were recorded; after decapitation blood and organ samples were collected. Amylase, lipase, trypsin, and total protease activity of pancreatic homogenates and small intestinal contents were determined. ZnO supplementation dose dependently increased the plasma Zn concentration and significantly increased amylase, lipase, trypsin and total protease activity in pancreatic homogenates and small intestinal contents. The statistical analysis showed significant protein and ZnO interaction on the activity of amylase in the pancreas, and amylase, trypsin and total-protease in the small intestinal content. Therefore ZnO at high dietary concentration may influence the digestion of nutrients via increased hydrolase activity.

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