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Zinc plays an integral role in numerous cellular processes including regulation of gene expression. This randomized placebo-controlled trial in adult women evaluated the effects of 20 mg Zn for 23 days. The mRNA abundance of zinc transporters (ZnT1/ZIP3/ZIP4/ZIP8) and metallothionein (MT1) from peripheral blood mononuclear cells was determined by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. In paired samples (n = 6–9), the ZIP4 (P = 0.036) and ZIP8 (P = 0.038) mRNA abundance decreased following zinc supplementation. ZnT1, ZIP3, and MT1 mRNA abundance did not change significantly. The mean ± standard deviation plasma zinc concentration (by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) at baseline was 680 ± 110 μg/L for the zinc group (n = 24) and 741 ± 92 μg/L for the placebo group (n = 23). At endpoint, plasma zinc in the zinc group increased to 735 ± 80 μg/L (P < 0.01) while in the placebo group (717 ± 100 μg/L) it did not change significantly from baseline. The change in mRNA abundance highlights the importance of further investigating ZIP4 and ZIP8 mRNA abundance as potential zinc status biomarkers.
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