Honors College Thesis


The Effect of Zinc Status and Age on Liver Health in Mice Público Deposited

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  • Age-related diseases have been associated with chronic inflammation and impaired immune response, one of the hallmarks of aging. Aging individuals also have a higher susceptibility to zinc deficiency. The effects of zinc deficiency share many commonalities with the effects of aging on the immune system and zinc deficiency may be a contributing factor to aging of the immune system. Understanding the relationship between zinc status and age-related inflammation and immune decline may offer insight on how to mediate the negative age effects through nutritional intervention. We hypothesized that in the liver, aging increases inflammation and increased zinc status via dietary zinc supplementation will reduce age-related inflammation, while decreased zinc status due to marginal zinc deficiency will further increase age-related inflammation. In a mouse model, we observed significant effects of age and diet on serum zinc status. Serum inflammatory marker IL6 increased with marginal zinc deficiency and MCP1 decreased with zinc supplementation. Four inflammatory markers, s100a8, s100a9, IL1β, and MCP1, increased with age but were not affected by zinc supplementation or deficiency. T cell related markers IFNγ and IL22 in the liver changed with zinc intervention. These results indicate the marked increase in inflammation that occurs with age and suggest zinc may play a role in proinflammatory immune response.
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