Author(s): Mocchegiani E
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Abstract The importance of Zn for optimal functioning of the immune system and antioxidant stress response is well documented. Zn homeostasis influences development and function of immune cells, activity of stress-related and antioxidant proteins [metallothioneins (MT), chaperones, ApoJ, Poly(ADP-Ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) and Methionione Sulfoxide Reductase (Msr), Superoxide Dismutase (SOD)], and helps to maintain genomic integrity and stability. During ageing, the intake of Zn decreases due to inadequate diet and/or intestinal malabsorption, contributing to frailty, general disability and increased incidence of age-related degenerative diseases (cancer, infections and atherosclerosis). Although many factors contributing to Zn deficiency have been identified, the biochemical markers of Zn deficiency as well as the possibility to achieve relevant health benefits through Zn supplementation in the elderly are still a matter for evaluation. Taking into account that Zn homeostasis is regulated by proteins and enzymes for which polymorphisms have been previously found to be associated with successful/unsuccessful ageing, genetic screening might be of added value in evaluating the individual response to Zn supplementation. Biochemical, immunological, dietary and genetic studies aimed at understanding the impact of Zn in healthy ageing, the effect of Zn supplementation in the elderly and finally formulating a rationale for the promotion of correct Zn supplementation were discussed at the international Zincage conference held in Ancona in January 2007.
This article was published in Immun Ageing
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research