The influence of postnatal zinc deprivation on the development of thymic strucutre and splenic mitogen responsiveness was investigated by feeding dams of suckling mice, during the first four weeks post-partum diets containing various levels of zinc (9.0 p.p.m. zinc, or marginal deficiency; 5.0 p.p.m. zinc, or moderate deficiency; 2.5 p.p.m. zinc, or severe deficiency; 100 p.p.m. zinc, fed either ad libitum, or isocaloric with the level of inanition observed in moderately deprived mice). Mice deprived of zinc manifested a dramatic retardation of splenic, and most notably, thymic growth and development, far in excess of the degree of stunting observed in the whole animal. Indeed, severely deprived animals possessed only a thymic rudiment. Moderately and severely deprived offspring demonstrated marked depression of splenic responsiveness to the mitogens, Con A, PHA-P, Pokeweed and E. coli lipopolysaccharide. Nonetheless, while response to the mitogens Pokeweed and lipopolysaccharide was depressed, response to the T-cell mitogens Con A and PHA-P was most severely altered. Pups deprived of zinc had only 5-10% of the stimulation index to Con A and PHA-P of ad libitum-fed and food-restricted control animals. The near total elimination of response to mitogens of thymus-derived lymphocytes correlated with the severely hypoplastic thymuses seen in zinc deprived progeny.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology