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Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1990 May;194(1):1-4.

Zinc deficiency and peripheral neuropathy in chicks.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211.


Zinc-deficient chicks develop an arthritic-like neuromuscular disorder. They walk with a stilted gait and tend to remain in a squat position, bearing little weight on the legs. The purpose of this study was to determine the basis of the syndrome by making electrophysiologic measurements of nerve function. Chicks were fed low zinc (6 mg/kg) and zinc-adequate (50 mg/kg) diets, the latter ad libitum and pair-fed. At the end of 3 weeks, sciatic nerve function was determined in vivo by use of an electrodiagnostic system. Motor nerve conduction velocity was significantly lower in chicks fed the low zinc than in those fed the zinc-adequate diet. Zinc repletion of the 2-week depleted chicks was achieved by feeding the adequate diet for 2 weeks. Repletion for this period cured clinical signs and restored nerve conduction velocity to normal, but reversal did not occur within 1 week. It was concluded that the abnormal posture and locomotion of zinc deficiency are associated with peripheral neuropathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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