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Arch Anim Nutr. 2013 Jun;67(3):248-61. doi: 10.1080/1745039X.2013.801138.

Performance, organ zinc concentration, jejunal brush border membrane enzyme activities and mRNA expression in piglets fed with different levels of dietary zinc.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universit├Ąt, Berlin, Germany.


This study aimed at investigating the effect of dietary zinc on performance, jejunal brush border membrane enzyme activities and mRNA levels of enzymes and two zinc transporters in piglets. A total of 126 piglets were weaned at 26 ┬▒1 days of age and randomly allocated into three groups fed with diets 50, 150 and 2500 mg zinc/kg. Performance was recorded and at weekly intervals, eight piglets per group were killed. The activities of isolated brush border membrane enzymes including lactase, maltase, sucrase, aminopeptidase-N and intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP), and the relative transcript abundance of aminopeptidase-N (APN), sucrase-isomaltase (SUC), IAP and the two zinc transporters SLC39A4 (ZIP4) and SLC30A1 (ZnT1) were investigated in the jejunum. Feeding pharmacological zinc levels increased weight gain (p < 0.001) during the first week, but performance was lower (p < 0.05) in the third week. Organ zinc concentrations were increased by high dietary zinc level. The activity of IAP was higher (p < 0.05) with the highest dietary zinc level, no effects were determined for other enzymes. Dietary zinc level had no effect on transcript abundance of digestive enzymes. The mRNA levels decreased (p < 0.001) for ZIP4, and increased for ZnT1 (p < 0.05) with pharmacological zinc levels. In conclusion, pharmacological zinc levels improved performance in the short-term. Intestinal mRNA level of zinc transporters changed with high zinc supply, but this did not prevent zinc accumulation in tissues, suggesting hampered homoeostatic regulation. This might cause impaired performance during longer supply.

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