Zinc-Altered Immune Function

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Zinc-Altered Immune Function

Zinc is known to be essential for all highly proliferating cells in the human body, especially the immune system. A variety of in vivo and in vitro effects of zinc on immune cells mainly depend on the zinc concentration. All kinds of immune cells show decreased function after zinc depletion. In monocytes, all functions are impaired, whereas in natural killer cells, cytotoxicity is decreased, and in neutrophil granulocytes, phagocytosis is reduced. The normal functions of T cells are impaired, but autoreactivity and alloreactivity are increased. B cells undergo apoptosis. Impaired immune functions due to zinc deficiency are shown to be reversed by an adequate zinc supplementation, which must be adapted to the actual requirements of the patient. High dosages of zinc evoke negative effects on immune cells and show alterations that are similar to those observed with zinc deficiency.

Source: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/5/1452S.full

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