Zinc (Zn) requirements are increased during lactation. Increased demand is partially met through increased Zn absorption from the diet. It is estimated that 60-80% of women of reproductive age are at risk for Zn deficiency due to low intake of bioavailable Zn and increased demands during pregnancy and lactation. How Zn is redistributed within the body to meet the demands of lactation, and how Zn deficiency affects this process, is not understood. Female C57bl/6J mice were fed a control (ZA; 30. mg Zn/kg) or a marginally Zn deficient (ZD; 15. mg Zn/kg) diet for 30 days prior to mating through mid-lactation and compared with nulliparous mice fed the same diets. While stomach and plasma Zn concentration increased during lactation in mice fed ZA, mice fed ZD had lower stomach Zn concentration and abrogated plasma Zn levels during lactation. Additionally, femur Zn decreased during lactation in mice fed ZA, while mice fed ZD did not experience this decrease. Furthermore, red blood cell, pancreas, muscle and mammary gland Zn concentration increased, and liver and adrenal gland Zn decreased during lactation, independent of diet, while kidney Zn concentration increased only in mice fed ZD. Finally, maternal Zn deficiency significantly increased the liver Zn concentration in offspring but decreased weight gain and survival. This study provides novel insight into how Zn is redistributed to meet the increased metabolic demands of lactation and how marginal Zn deficiency interferes with these homeostatic adjustments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Inorganic Chemistry