Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 32, Issue 1–3, pp 363–382 | Cite as

The role of zinc in reproduction

Hormonal mechanisms
  • Alain Emile Favier
Part 2: Trace elements in endocrinology Section 5: Reproduction, Growth, and Immunity


Zinc is a very important element in the reproductive cycle of species. In humans, it is necessary for the formation and maturation of spermatozoa, for ovulation, and for fertilization. During pregnancy, zinc deficiency causes a number of anomalies: spontaneous abortion, pregnancy-related toxemia, extended pregnancy or prematurity, malformations, and retarded growth. Delivery is adversely affected by deficiency. These different effects of zinc can be explained by its multiple action on the metabolism of androgen hormones, estrogen and progesterone, together with the prostaglandins. Nuclear receptors for steroids are all zinc finger proteins. Zinc supplementation has already proven beneficial in male sterility and in reducing complications during pregnancy. However, it would be worth conducting larger-scale trials to confirm these beneficial effects.

Index Entries

Zinc hypogonadism sterility spermatozoon testosterone estrogens ovulation fertilization pregnancy toxemia abortion prematurity prostaglandins malformation 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alain Emile Favier
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biochimie des Intéractions Micronutriments-Radicaux LibresUniversité J. Fourier-Faculté de PharmacieL. TroncheFrance

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