Zinc deficiency and neurodevelopment: The case of neurons.
Journal - BioFactors (Oxford, England)
Zinc is essential for normal brain development. Gestational severe zinc deficiency can lead to overt fetal brain malformations. Although not teratogenic, suboptimal zinc nutrition during gestation can have long-term effects on the offspring's nervous system. This article will review current knowledge on the role of zinc in modulating neurogenesis and neuronal apoptosis as well as the proposed underlying mechanisms. A decrease in neuronal zinc causes cell cycle arrest, which in part involves a deregulation of select signals (ERK1/2, p53, and NF-kappaB). Zinc deficiency also induces apoptotic neuronal death through the intrinsic (mitochondrial) pathway, which can be triggered by the activation of the zinc-regulated enzyme caspase-3, and as a consequence of abnormal regulation of prosurvival signals (ERK1/2 and NF-kappaB). Alterations in the finely tuned processes of neurogenesis, neuronal migration, differentiation, and apoptosis, which involve the developmental shaping of the nervous system, could have a long-term impact on brain health. Zinc deficiency during gestation, even at the marginal levels observed in human populations, could increase the risk for behavioral/neurological disorders in infancy, adolescence, and adulthood.
The Role of Zinc in the Modulation of Neuronal Proliferation and Apoptosis.
Journal - Neurotoxicity research
Although a requirement of zinc (Zn) for normal brain development is well documented, the extent to which Zn can modulate neuronal proliferation and apoptosis is not clear. Thus, we investigated the role of Zn in the regulation of these two critical events. A low Zn availability leads to decreased cell viability in human neuroblastoma IMR-32 cells and primary cultures of rat cortical neurons. This occurs in part as a consequence of decreased cell proliferation and increased apoptotic cell death. In IMR-32 cells, Zn deficiency led to the inhibition of cell proliferation through the arrest of the cell cycle at the G(0)/G(1) phase. Zn deficiency induced apoptosis in both proliferating and quiescent neuronal cells via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Reductions in cellular Zn triggered a translocation of the pro-apoptotic protein Bad to the mitochondria, cytochrome c release, and caspase-3 activation. Apoptosis is the resultant of the inhibition of the prosurvival extracellular-signal-regulated kinase, the inhibition of nuclear factor-kappa B, and associated decreased expression of antiapoptotic proteins, and to a direct activation of caspase-3. A deficit of Zn during critical developmental periods can have persistent effects on brain function secondary to a deregulation of neuronal proliferation and apoptosis.