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Extracellular and immunological actions of zinc

  • Lothar Rink
  • Philip Gabriel
Chapter
  • 381 Downloads

Abstract

Zinc is an essential trace element for the immune system, but also very important in other organ systems. Every highly proliferating cell system is dependent on sufficient availability of zinc. During the last decades the influence of zinc on various cell systems have been investigated. Multiple effects of exogenously added zinc have been described in in vitro culture systems and in in vivo systems. However, most of these effects are so far poorly understood, and the dosages used in the in vitro systems are not comparable and sometimes unphysiologically high. Especially in the immune system a number of effects were described and over the last ten years we have come to understand some molecular mechanisms of zinc in this cell system. A zinc deficiency is accompanied by an immunodeficiency, resulting in an increased number of infections. However, the immune function is delicately regulated by zinc, since both increased and decreased zinc levels result in a disturbed immune function. Therefore, zinc supplementation must be accurately supervised. In this review, we discuss the activity of extracellular zinc in four sections. 1. The effect of zinc on different in vitro cell systems, including keratinocytes, osteocytes and leukocytes, and the concentrations of zinc needed for a specific cell response. 2. The modulation of the innate immune system in vitro and in vivo. 3. The role of zinc in the B cell response and antibody production. 4. Effects of zinc on the development and function of T cells.

Key words

cell biology immunology review trace elements zinc 

Abbreviations

AIDS

acquired immune deficiency syndrome

BSA

bovine serum albumin

CD

cluster of differentiation

FCS

fetal calf serum

FIV

feline immune deficiency virus

HLA

human leukocyte antigen

IFN

interferon

Ig

immunoglobulin

IL

interleukin

IRAK

interleukin 1 receptor associated kinase

KIR

killer cell inhibitory receptor

LPS

lipopolysaccharide

MHC

major histocompatibility complex

MLC

mixed lymphocyte culture

MLR

mixed lymphocyte reaction

MT

metallothionein

NDV

Newcastle disease virus

NK

natural killer

PBMC

peripheral blood mononuclear cells

PMA

phorbol myristate acetate

PMN

polymorphonuclear neutrophils

ROS

reactive oxygen species

SF

serum free

SOD

superoxide dismutase

STZ

serum-treated zymosan

TCR

T cell receptor

TH

T helper

TNF

tumor necrosis factor

ZIP

zinc regulated metal transporter (ZRT) iron regulated metal transporter (IRT) like protein

ZnT

zinc transporter.

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lothar Rink
    • 1
  • Philip Gabriel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Immunology and Transfusion MedicineUniversity of Lübeck School of MedicineLübeckGermany

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