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Nutrition. 1995 Jan-Feb;11(1 Suppl):117-20.

Zinc and endothelial function.

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Department of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA.


Zinc (Zn), an essential trace element, has antioxidant functions, stabilizes membranes, and plays a role in the activity of a host of Zn metalloenzymes. Zn deficiency has been shown to increase erythrocyte fragility, decrease the Zn content of the erythrocyte membrane, and alter erythrocyte membrane fluidity. Recent studies have shown that Zn deficiency induced by various mechanisms disrupts endothelial barrier cell function in vitro, and this was corrected with Zn supplementation. Moreover, physiological amounts of Zn attenuated the barrier dysfunction produced by the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor. These data have important implications for acute vascular processes, e.g., adult respiratory distress syndrome, and chronic vascular processes, e.g., atherosclerosis. The mechanisms by which Zn may affect endothelial cell function and attenuate cytokine-induced endothelial cell dysfunction are important areas of continuing investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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