Effects of dietary zinc deficiency and protein-energy malnutrition on murine splenic T lymphocyte signal transduction proteins

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Giesbrecht, Jeri-Anne Christine
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Phospholipase C (PLC) and protein kinase C (PKC) are zinc metalloenzymes in the T lymphocyte signal transduction pathway. It is hypothesized that aberrations in the expression and functionality of PLC and PKC due to a lack of zinc may help explain some of the immune dysfunction observed in zinc deficiency. The objectives of the present studies were to assess the effects of zinc deficiency and malnutrition (energy, protein, or combined zinc and low protein) on animal weight, zinc status, spleen parameters, and the expression and activity of splenic T lymphocyte signal transduction proteins: PLC and PKC. An established adult murine model of zinc deficiency and protein and energy malnutrition was used to carry out these investigations. In two separate experiments, 35 female C56BL/6 adult mice were randomly assigned to one of five treatment groups [zinc deficient and 2% protein (ZLP), 2% protein (LP), zinc deficient (Z), energy restricted (ER), or control (CTL)] for four weeks. Zinc deficiency was induced in the Z and ZLP groups as assessed by lower serum and femur zinc concentrations compared to CTL (23%-65% and 78%-84% of CTL, respectively). (Abstract shortened by UMI.)