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Role of Dietary Zinc as a Nutritional Immunomodulator

  • Goswami, T.K. (Section of Immunology, Indian Veterinary Research, Institute) ;
  • Bhar, R. (Division of Animal Nutrition, Indian Veterinary Research Institute) ;
  • Jadhav, S.E. (Division of Animal Nutrition, Indian Veterinary Research Institute) ;
  • Joardar, S.N. (West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences) ;
  • Ram, G.C. (In-charge, Section of Immunology, Indian Veterinary Research Institute)
  • Received : 2004.01.10
  • Accepted : 2004.08.04
  • Published : 2005.03.01

Abstract

Zinc is ubiquitous in all living cells. Structural and catalytic properties of cellular enzymes are zinc dependent. Zinc deficiency leads to a variety of pathological abnormalities with immune impairment. It is an established fact that nutritional status contributes to overall immune response of individuals. Outcome of zinc deficiency on immune system is so drastic that it is difficult to conceive at the first instance. Zinc supplementation has been advocated to prevent diarrheal disease in children with poor nutritional status. The bioavailability of zinc depends upon its sources. Moreover it varies between monogastrics and ruminants. Controversy still prevails between inorganic and organic sources of zinc with respect to their superiority in bioavailability. Zinc exerts immunostimulatory effects in various laboratory and farm animals. Animals having congenital zinc deficiency diseases like A46 lethal trait usually die due to impairment of the immune system unless treated with zinc. The immune mechanism of zinc and its effect on animals and man are discussed. Zinc has been considered as extremely safe at higher therapeutic doses, but does not provide any beneficial effect but rather may cause immunosuppression. More recently, zinc has been prescribed for immunodeficient hosts, to modulate the immune system so that to a certain extent it can combat against opportunistic pathogens.

Keywords

Animal;Dietary Zinc;Immunomodulation

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