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Minerva Med. 1994 Dec;85(12):647-54.

[Zinc and atherosclerosis].

[Article in Italian]

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Istituto di Clinica Medica Generale, Università di Ferrara.


The relationship between zinc and atherosclerosis is reviewed. Administration of strong doses of the mineral can turn out atherogenic through three mechanisms: 1. Through the alterations of the lipidic arrangement: decrease of HDL, increase of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (action promoted by the induced hypocupremia). 2. Through the alterations of the vasal wall, in consequence of the biochemical modifications of the basic substance (again, through secondary hypocupremia). 3. Through the increased platelet aggregation which seems to be produced by strong doses of zinc. In addition to these harmful actions, the antioxidative action, typical of zinc, must be stressed, which prevents oxidation of LDL and consequently stops the main mechanism of atherogenesis. Besides, the mineral restricts and nullifies the loss of metallothionein in zinc, produced by free radicals and subsequent functional alterations. Moreover, the calcium antagonist action of zinc must be considered: it blocks calcium and its several favorable actions on atherogenesis. In consideration of these last aspects, the rule of zinc, in suitable doses, could be considered as basic in the context of a strategy of prophylaxis and therapy of the atherosclerosis process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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