Effect of marginal maternal zinc deficiency in rats on mammary gland zinc metabolism

Donna Beshgetoor, Bo Lönnerdal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


There is a paucity of studies investigating the consequences of marginal zinc deficiency (MZD) during the reproductive cycle. This study was conducted to characterize the effects of MZD during pregnancy and lactation with a focus on zinc (Zn) transfer into the mammary gland and milk. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a control diet (28 μg/g) or a marginally low Zn diet (12 μg/g) during pregnancy and lactation or the control diet during pregnancy followed by the low Zn diet during lactation. Pair-fed controls received the control diet in amounts adjusted to the mean daily intake of rats fed the low Zn diet. Pup weight and maternal mammary tissue weight were significantly lower in dams the MZD diet throughout pregnancy and lactation. Milk volume was significantly lower in both MDZ groups. 65Zn tissue retention was higher in the liver of MZD dams in contrast to lower 65Zn in mammary tissue and milk. Iron and copper levels in dams and pups were not affected by dietary Zn. Although MZD during pregnancy and lactation did not impair mental health, it is significantly reduced mammary weight, milk volume and mammary Zn transer, thus impairing factors important to neonatal growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-578
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1997


  • Lactation
  • Mammary zinc
  • Milk zinc
  • Zinc deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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