Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 143–149

The role of the pancreas in the regulation of zinc status

  • Jacobus P. Van Wouwe
  • Jaap J. M. Uijlenbroek


A low Zn diet resulted in subacute Zn deficiency in young rats. Thirty minutes after the intubation of a trace 65-Zn we determined the total tissue Zn activity in plasma, erythrocytes, liver, pancreas, bone, muscle, and proximal jejunum. Assuming the body behaved like a closed multicompartmental system in steady state, we estimated the initial Zn exchange between plasma, and the erythrocytes or these tissues. In comparison with control animals the exchanges between plasma and erythrocytes or pancreas increased threefold during subacufe Zn deficiency. In the pancreas the ratio also reversed from <1.0 to>1.0. This confirmed earlier, observations that the specific activity (kBq 65-Zn/mol Zn) increased mostly in the pancreas. By increased net Zn uptake during subacute deficiency, the pancreas Zn content remained constant in chronic Zn deficiency.

We discussed the regulation of the Zn status by the pancreas. We hypothesize that the exocrine pancreas modulates Zn absorption by an exocrine ligand that enhances absorption in the jejunum during subacute deficiency: Unsaturated with Zn it binds dietary intraluminal Zn and increases the Zn absorption. The literature provides evidence in confirmation. This hypothesis explains also conflicting data on the inherited Zn malabsorption syndrome Acrodermatitis Enteropathica.

Index Entries

Dietary Zn deficiency Zn deficiency, subacute Zn status Zn status, regulation of pancreas Acrodermatitis Enteropathica 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacobus P. Van Wouwe
    • 1
  • Jaap J. M. Uijlenbroek
    • 2
  1. 1.Drechtsteden Hospital “Jacobus”Zwijndrechtthe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Radiochemistry, Interfaculty Reactor InstituteDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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