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Pediatr Res. 2005 Oct;58(4):672-6.

Moderate zinc deficiency influences arterial blood pressure and vascular nitric oxide pathway in growing rats.

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1
Cátedra de Fisiología, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Abstract

There is an increasing interest in the involvement of trace elements such as zinc in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases. This study was designed to examine whether moderate zinc deficiency during growth influences blood pressure (BP) and vascular nitric oxide (NO) pathway. Three-week-old weaned male Wistar rats were randomly divided into two dietary groups and fed either a moderately zinc-deficient diet (zinc content 9 mg/kg; n = 12) or a control diet (zinc content 30 mg/kg; n = 12) for 60 d. The following were measured: systolic BP, nitrates and nitrites urinary excretion, urinary chemiluminescence intensity, NADPH-diaphorase activity in the thoracic aorta and intestinal arterioles, and NO synthase (NOS) catalytic activity using L-[U14C]-arginine as substrate in the thoracic aorta. Zinc deficiency during growth induced an increase in BP from day 30 of the experimental period, leading to hypertension on day 60. Animals that were fed the zinc-deficient diet had lower urinary excretion levels of nitrates and nitrites and higher intensity of spontaneous luminescence on day 60. At the end of the experiment, zinc-deficient rats showed decreased NADPH diaphorase activity in endothelium and smooth muscle of the thoracic aorta and intestinal arterioles and decreased activity of NOS in thoracic aortic tissue. An imbalance in zinc bioavailability during postnatal and growing periods may be may be a risk factor in development of cardiovascular alterations in adult life. The mechanisms involved may include an impaired vascular NO system as a result of decreased NOS activity and higher systemic oxidative stress.

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