Efficacy of zinc supplementation in preventing acute hepatitis in Long-Evans Cinnamon rats

Valentina Medici, Giacomo Carlo Sturniolo, Alessandro Santon, Renata D'Incà, Marina Bortolami, Romilda Cardin, Daniela Basso, Vincenzo Albergoni, Paola Irato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives: Long-Evans Cinnamon (LEC) rats are characterized by an abnormal hepatic deposition of copper (Cu) due to a lack of the Cu-transporter P-type adenosine triphosphatase: accordingly, the strain is a good animal model of Wilson's disease. The effect of oral zinc (Zn) acetate treatment on the development of acute hepatitis and the biochemical parameters of Cu-induced liver damage was studied in 5-week-old LEC rats (n = 52). Methods: Rats receiving 50 or 80 mg/ml/day Zn acetate by gavage and control rats receiving a daily dose of glucose solution 0.02 g/ml by gastric intubation were killed at 1, 2 or 8 weeks after the start of treatment. Results: Treatment with Zn acetate resulted in the prevention of acute hepatitis: 10 of the 13 untreated rats developed signs and symptoms compatible with acute hepatitis between the 6th and 7th week of treatment. Tissue metallothionein (MT) significantly increased in the treated rats and positively correlated with Zn concentrations within the liver. Control rats had a significantly higher iron concentration in the liver and kidneys compared with supplemented rats, after both short- and long-term experiments. 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine amounts were significantly lower in untreated rats. Conclusions: Zn acetate prevents acute hepatitis, by increasing tissue MT concentrations, reducing Cu absorption and interfering with Fe metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)888-895
Number of pages8
JournalLiver International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • LEC rats
  • Metallothionein
  • Wilson disease
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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