Functional capacity of the residual lymphocytes from zinc-deficient adult mice

Joan M. Cook-Mills, Pamela J. Fraker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Zn deficiency has been shown to reduce host defence drastically. It was of interest to determine the capacity of the residual lymphocytes from Zn-deficient mice to proliferate and produce lymphokines in response to stimulation since there are many Zn-dependent metalloenzymes that might be altered by the deficiency. To address this question, young adult A/J mice were provided Zn-deficient or Zn-adequate diets or restricted amounts of a Zn-adequate diet for 30 d. Splenocytes from moderately or severely Zn-deficient adult A/J mice gave normal proliferative responses and generated adequate interleukin II (IL-2) activity when stimulated with the mitogen Concanavalin A. However, splenocytes from deficient mice exhibited a higher degree of proliferation (about 150 %) and production of IL-2 in response to foreign target cells compared with T-cells prepared from mice provided a Zn-adequate diet. B-cells from deficient mice stimulated in vivo with sheep erythrocytes produced fewer total numbers of plaque-forming cells (PFC) per spleen. Nevertheless, the proportion or number of PFC/106 viable splenocytes and the amounts of IgM and IgG antibody produced per PFC were equivalent to those of adequately-fed and restricted-fed controls. The previously described responses were not significantly affected by whether the level of Zn in the culture medium was adequate or limiting. Based on these tests it appeared that the residual splenic lymphocytes of Zn-deficient mice were able to carry out many fundamental immune processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-848
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1993


  • Lymphocyte function: Mouse
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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