Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Healthy Body Weight Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #133924

Title: HISTORY OF ZINC AS RELATED TO BRAIN FUNCTION

Author
item SANDSTEAD, HAROLD
item FREDERICKSON, CHRISTOPHER
item Penland, James

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2000
Publication Date: 2/1/2000
Citation: Sandstead, H.H., Frederickson, C., Penland, J.G. 2000. History of zinc as related to brain function. Journal of Nutrition. 130:496S-502S.

Interpretive Summary: Knowledge of the relationship between zinc nutriture and brain development and function has come from research in several disciplines, including neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, biology, physiology and psychology. Interestingly, many advances occurred in parallel with limited cross-disciplinary communication. This review of historical and recent research attempts to "bridge the gap" and provide a coherent story about this important and still evolving relationship.

Technical Abstract: Zinc (Zn) is essential for synthesis of coenzymes that mediate biogenic-amine synthesis and metabolism. Zn from vesicles in presynaptic terminals of certain glutaminergic neurons modulates postsynaptic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors for glutamate. Large amounts of Zn released from vesicles by seizures of ischemia can kill postsynaptic neurons. Acute Zn deficiency impairs brain function of experimental animals and humans. Zn deficiency in experimental animals during early brain development causes malformations, whereas deficiency later in brain development causes microscopic abnormalities and impairs subsequent function. A limited number of studies suggest that similar phenomena can occur in humans. Knowledge of the relationship between zinc nutriture and brain development and function has come from research in several disciplines, including neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, biology, physiology and psychology. Interestingly, many advances occurred in parallel with limited cross-disciplinary communication. This review of historical and recent research attempts to "bridge the gap" and provide a coherent story about this important and still evolving relationship.