Zinc and the Liver: An Active Interaction
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- Stamoulis, I., Kouraklis, G. & Theocharis, S. Dig Dis Sci (2007) 52: 1595. doi:10.1007/s10620-006-9462-0
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Zinc is an essential trace element, exerting important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiapoptotic effects. It affects growth and development and participates in processes such as aging and cancer induction. The liver is important for the regulation of zinc homeostasis, while zinc is necessary for proper liver function. Decreased zinc levels have been implicated in both acute and chronic liver disease states, and zinc deficiency has been implicated in the pathogenesis of liver diseases. Zinc supplementation offers protection in experimental animal models of acute and chronic liver injury, but these hepatoprotective properties have not been fully elucidated. In the present review, data on zinc homeostasis, its implication in the pathogenesis of liver diseases, and its effect on acute and chronic liver diseases are presented. It is concluded that zinc could protect against liver diseases, although up to now the underlying pathophysiology of zinc and liver interactions have not been defined.