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Prog Food Nutr Sci. 1987;11(2):203-47.

Zinc and the central nervous system.


The effect of zinc nutriture and metabolism on brain function has been reviewed. Zinc nutriture and its effect on the concentration and metabolism of essential elements (e.g. zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, sodium, potassium and calcium) and on the concentration and metabolism of toxic elements (e.g. aluminum and lead) are discussed in relationship to brain function. In addition, possible interrelationships between zinc nutriture and metabolism and its effect on a number of diseases including acrodermatitis enteropathica, Pick's disease, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, fifth day fits, and epilepsy are discussed. Descriptions and comparisons of methods to measure brain zinc are presented. Behavioral changes and the altered brain morphology which have been associated with zinc deficiency are reviewed. Some possible mechanisms for the association of anorexia with zinc deficiency are outlined. Perinatal brain damage produced by early zinc deficiency followed by rehabilitation with adequate zinc appears to be long term, maybe permanent. Interrelationships between zinc nutriture and aspects of neurochemistry are outlined. Some of the neurochemistries discussed include nucleic acid and protein synthesis, cytoskeletal proteins, neurotransmitters (e.g. catecholamines, indoleamines, glutamate, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and neuropeptides), neurotransmitter receptors, 7S nerve growth factor and zinc-binding proteins. Recent evidence linking zinc and neurotransmission is discussed.

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