Intestinal Absorption of Zinc

  • B. Lönnerdal
Part of the ILSI Human Nutrition Reviews book series (ILSI HUMAN)


It may appear somewhat surprising that, in spite of all recent concern about zinc nutrition in humans and research on zinc metabolism in man and experimental animals, we know so little about the mechanism of zinc transport across the small intestine. This step in zinc metabolism is likely to be a main regulatory mechanism of zinc homeostasis and therefore increased knowledge about the molecular events at the cell membrane and inside the enterocyte will be crucial for interpreting the control of zinc influx and efflux. It is less surprising though if one compares our knowledge about mechanisms of zinc absorption with what is known about absorption of other trace elements such as iron. Even though the knowledge about homeostatic regulation of iron absorption and identification of the extra- and intracellular carriers of iron was obtained long before the era of intense research on zinc metabolism, we still do not know how the intestinal cell regulates iron absorption. With our increased availability of more sensitive methods in molecular biology and knowledge of cell biology it should, however, be reasonable to expect that the absorptive mechanisms can be elucidated in the near future. At present, it is necessary to identify what is known and what remains to be learned about the mechanisms of zinc absorption.


Zinc Deficiency Brush Border Membrane Zinc Transport Alcoholic Cirrhosis Dietary Zinc 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

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  • B. Lönnerdal

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