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Zinc and Thymulin

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Abstract

Thymulin is a thymic hormone produced by thymic epithelial cells (TEC) known to induce intra- and extra thymic T cell differentiation. It is a nonapeptide whose biological activity and antigenicity depend upon the presence of zinc, which also induces conformational changes in the molecule as demonstrated by RMN studies. The presence of zinc and metallothionein have been demonstrated with TEC which produce the peptide, suggesting that the molecule is secreted in its active zinc-containing form.

In order to define the zinc/thymulin relationship, we studied various models of mild zinc deficiency in humans. First, we showed that serum thymulin activity was decreased as a result of zinc deficiency, and was corrected by in vivo and in vitro zinc supplementation, suggesting that this parameter could be a sensitive indicator of zinc deficiency in humans. Secondly, these observations, when considered together with the parallel variations seen in T-cell subpopulations and lymphokine production, could provide a possible explanation of the role of zinc on T cell functions.

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© 1990 Springer-Verlag Tokyo

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Dardenne, M., Prasad, A., Bach, JF. (1990). Zinc and Thymulin. In: Tomita, H. (eds) Trace Elements in Clinical Medicine. Springer, Tokyo. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-4-431-68120-5_24

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-4-431-68120-5_24

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Tokyo

  • Print ISBN: 978-4-431-68122-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-4-431-68120-5

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive

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