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J Gastroenterol Hepatol 1994 Sep-Oct;9(5):472-7

Comment in: J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1994 Sep-oct;9(5):519-20


Effect of oral zinc supplementation on metallothionein and superoxide dismutase concentrations in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.


Mulder TP, van der Sluys Veer A, Verspaget HW, Griffioen G, Pena AS, Janssens AR, Lamers CB.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Oxygen-derived free radicals may contribute to intestinal tissue damage in inflammatory bowel disease. The concentrations of metallothionein and superoxide dismutase, two copper and zinc containing proteins involved in the scavenging of free radicals; were previously found to be decreased in the intestinal mucosa of patients with this disorder.


The plasma zinc concentration is often decreased also in these patients. Since zinc is reported to be an efficient inducer of metallothionein synthesis, and probably of superoxide dismutase, we evaluated the effect of oral zinc supplementation on metallothionein and superoxide dismutase levels in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.


Fourteen patients with inactive to moderately active inflammatory bowel disease received oral zinc supplementation (300 mg zinc aspartate, equal to 60 mg elemental zinc per day) for 4 weeks in a placebo-controlled double-blind cross-over trial.


The plasma zinc concentration of these patients was low at the start of the study (12.2 +/- 1.7 mumol/L, P < 0.05), when compared to that of 22 healthy controls (13.6 +/- 2.3 mumol/L), but increased (P < 0.05) towards the levels of controls during the supplementation period (13.3 +/- 2.5 mumol/L).


The concentrations of metallothionein and superoxide dismutase in plasma and in erythrocytes did not change in relation to the supplementation. The metallothionein concentration in both inflamed and non-inflamed intestinal mucosa was slightly higher after zinc supplementation but the superoxide dismutase concentration in the tissue was not altered. The histological inflammation score of intestinal biopsies, plasma albumin levels, and the disease activity index of the patients did not change during the study.




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