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Silicon deprivation decreases collagen formation in wounds and bone, and ornithine transaminase enzyme activity in liver


We have shown that silicon (Si) deprivation decreases the collagen concentration in bone of 9-wk-old rats. Finding that Si deprivation also affects collagen at different stages in bone development, collagen-forming enzymes, or collagen deposition in other tissues would have implications that Si is important for both wound healing and bone formation. Therefore, 42 rats in experiment 1 and 24 rats in experiment 2 were fed a basal diet containing 2 or 2.6 µg Si/g, respectively, based on ground corn and casein, and supplemented with either 0 or 10 µg Si/g as sodium metasilicate. At 3 wk, the femur was removed from 18 of the 42 rats in experiment 1 for hydroxyproline analysis. A polyvinyl sponge was implanted beneath the skin of the upper back of each of the 24 remaining rats. Sixteen hours before termination and 2 wk after the sponge had been implanted, each rat was given an oral dose of14C-proline (1.8 µCi/100 g body wt). The total amount of hydroxyproline was significantly lower in the tibia and sponges taken from Si-deficient animals than Si-supplemented rats. The disintegrations per minute of14C-proline were significantly higher in sponge extracts from Si-deficient rats than Si-supplemented rats. Additional evidence of aberrations in proline metabolism with Si deprivation was that liver ornithine aminotransferase was significantly decreased in Si-deprived animals in experiment 2. Findings of an increased accumulation of14C-proline and decreased total hydroxyproline in implanted sponges and decreased activity of a key enzyme in proline synthesis (liver ornithine aminotransferase) in Si-deprived animals indicates an aberration in the formation of collagen from proline in sites other than bone that is corrected by Si. This suggests that Si is a nutrient of concern in wound healing as well as bone formation.

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Correspondence to F. H. Nielsen.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Northern Plains Area is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, and all agency services are available without discrimination.

Mention of a trademark or proprietary product does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product by the US Department of Agriculture and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products that may be suitable.

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Seaborn, C.D., Nielsen, F.H. Silicon deprivation decreases collagen formation in wounds and bone, and ornithine transaminase enzyme activity in liver. Biol Trace Elem Res 89, 251–261 (2002).

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Index Entries

  • Silicon
  • collagen
  • wound healing
  • bone
  • ornithine transaminase