September 1990

Effect of Marginal Maternal Zinc Intake on Zinc Absorption and Growth of 3-September-Old Infant Rhesus Monkeys

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Nutrition (Drs Lönnerdal, Keen, and Bell) and Internal Medicine (Drs Lönnerdal, Keen, Golub, and Gershwin), and the California Primate Research Center (Drs Hendrickx and Golub), University of California, Davis.

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(9):1007-1010. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150330067023

• One compensatory mechanism for marginal zinc intake may be through an enhanced absorption of zinc. Such a compensatory mechanism could be of value to the neonate, as poor zinc nutriture during early life has severe consequences on growth and development. We studied the uptake of zinc by 3-month-old infant rhesus monkeys born to dams fed control diets(100 μg of zinc per gram of diet or zinc-restricted diets (4μg of zinc per gram of diet). Zinc uptake/retention was studied by feeding 3-month-old infant monkeys that had fasted an infant formula containing zinc 65 by gavage. Whole body radioactivity was counted immediately after intubation and on days 10 and 17 after intubation. Regardless of dietary group, 65zinc retention was high, ranging from 33% to 71% of the dose fed to the monkeys. There were no significant differences between the two dietary groups in the percentage of zinc retention at days 10 and 17. Independent of the dietary group, there was no correlation between plasma zinc and zinc absorption. A positive correlation was found between weight gain and zinc retention in the marginal zinc infants, while a negative correlation between weight gain and zinc retention was observed in the control infants. These observations suggest that the mechanisms underlying growth may be different in infants born to dams fed control vs marginal zinc diets.

(AJDC. 1990;144:1007-1010)