Adolescent growth and maturation in zinc-deprived rhesus monkeys

Mari S. Golub, Carl L Keen, M. Eric Gershwin, Dennis M Styne, Peter T. Takeuchi, Francesca Ontell, Robert M. Walter, Andrew G Hendrickx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Growth retardation has been associated with zinc deficiency in adolescent human populations, but animal models were not available previously to explore this syndrome. Moderate dietary zinc deprivation (2 μg Zn/g diet) was introduced in female rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta; n = 10) from the beginning of puberty through menarche. Subgroups of animals (n = 4) continued to be fed the zinc deficient diet through 45 mo of age (sexual maturity). Reduced weight gain and linear growth and lower plasma zinc concentrations (11.8 ± 0.6 and 9.2 ± 0.8 μmol/L in control and zincdeficient monkeys, respectively) were evident during the premenarcheal growth spurt. Slower skeletal growth, maturation, and mineralization were recorded in the postmenarcheal period and some indicators of sexual maturation were delayed. Food intake was slightly higher in the zinc-deficient group than in controls. These data confirm that adolescent growth and maturation are vulnerable to disruption by moderate dietary zinc deprivation in nonhuman primates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-282
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996


  • adolescence
  • bone mineralization
  • diet
  • female rhesus monkeys
  • puberty
  • skeletal maturation
  • Zinc deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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