Effect of dietary copper and zinc levels on tissue copper, zinc, and iron in male rats

Carl L Keen, Nancy H. Reinstein, Jo Goudey-Lefevre, Michael Lefevre, Bo Lönnerdal, Barbara O. Schneeman, Lucille S. Hurley

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23 Scopus citations


The interaction between dietary copper and zinc as determined by tissue concentrations of trace elements was investigated in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Animals were fed diets in a factorial design with two levels of copper (0.5, 5 μg/g) and five levels of zinc (1, 4.5, 10, 100, 1000 μg/g) for 42 d. In rats fed the low copper diet, as dietary zinc concentration increased, the level of copper decreased in brain, testis, spleen, heart, liver, and intestine. There was no significant effect of dietary copper on tissue zinc levels. In the zinc-deficient groups, the level of iron was higher in most tissues than in tissues from controls (5 μg Cu, 100 μg Zn/g diet). In the copper-deficient groups, iron concentration was higher than control values only in the liver. These data show that dietary zinc affected tissue copper levels primarily when dietary copper was deficient, that dietary copper had no effect on tissue zinc, and that both zinc deficiency and copper deficiency affected tissue iron levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-136
Number of pages14
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1985


  • Copper, effect on tissue Cu, Zn, and Fe on dietary
  • iron, effect of dietary Cu and Zn on
  • nutrient interactions, and trace metals
  • trace minerals, and nutrient interactions
  • zinc, effect on tissue Cu, Zn, and Fe of dietary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry


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