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Mocchegiani E.,Center Nutrition and Ageing | Malavolta M.,Center Nutrition and Ageing | Costarelli L.,Center Nutrition and Ageing | Giacconi R.,Center Nutrition and Ageing | And 6 more authors.
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

Ageing is an inevitable biological process with gradual and spontaneous biochemical and physiological changes and increased susceptibility to diseases. The nutritional factor, zinc, may remodel these changes with subsequent healthy ageing, because zinc improves the inflammatory/immune response as shown by in vitro and in vivo studies. The intracellular zinc homeostasis is regulated by buffering metallothioneins (MT) and zinc transporters (ZnT and ZIP families) that mediate the intracellular zinc signalling assigning to zinc a role of second messenger. In ageing, the intracellular zinc homeostasis is altered, because high MT are unable to release zinc and some zinc transporters deputed to zinc influx (ZIP family) are defective leading to low intracellular zinc content for the immune efficiency. Physiological zinc supplementation in the elderly improves these functions. However, the choice of old subjects for zinc supplementation has to be performed in relation to the specific genetic background of MT and IL-6, because the latter is involved both in MTmRNA and in intracellular zinc homeostasis. Old subjects carrying GG genotypes (C-carriers) in the IL-6-174G/C locus display high IL-6, low intracellular zinc content, impaired innate immunity and enhanced MT. Old subjects carrying GC and CC genotypes (C+carriers) display satisfactory intracellular zinc content, adequate innate immunity and are more prone to reach longevity. Zinc supplementation in old C-carriers restores natural killer cell cytotoxicity and zinc status. The genetic variations of the IL-6174G/C locus when associated with those of the MT1A+647A/C locus are useful tools for the choice of old people for zinc supplementation. Copyright © 2010 The Authors. Source

Costarelli L.,Italian National Research Centres on Ageing INRCA | Muti E.,Italian National Research Centres on Ageing INRCA | Malavolta M.,Italian National Research Centres on Ageing INRCA | Cipriano C.,Italian National Research Centres on Ageing INRCA | And 18 more authors.
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry

Overweight and obesity are associated with low grade of inflammation and chronic inflammatory response characterized by abnormal production and activation of some pro-inflammatory signalling pathways. Taking into account that obesity is the direct result of an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure, the nutritional factors in the diet, with particular focus on zinc, may play a pivotal role in the development of obesity-associated comorbidities. Considering the potential interactions among zinc nutritional status, inflammation, overweight/obesity and insulin secretion, the aim of the present work was to clarify the influence of zinc dietary intake on some metabolic, inflammatory and zinc status parameters in adult overweight/obese subjects. We found a close interrelationship between nutritional zinc and obesity. In particular, subjects with a lower zinc dietary intake display a deeper inflammatory status, general impairment of the zinc status, an altered lipid profile and increased insulin production with respect to obese subjects with normal zinc dietary intake. Moreover, in the presence of low dietary zinc intake, the obese subjects are less capable to respond to oxidative stress and to inflammation leading to the development of obesity or to a worsening of already preexisting obesity status. In conclusion, a possible zinc supplementation in obese subjects with a deeper inflammatory status and more altered zinc profile may be suggested in order to limit or reduce the inflammation, taking also into account that zinc supplementation normalizes "inflammaging" as well as zinc profile leading to a correct intra- and extracellular zinc homeostasis. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. Source

Mocchegiani E.,Italian National Research Centres on Ageing INRCA | Romeo J.,Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition ICTAN CSIC | Malavolta M.,Italian National Research Centres on Ageing INRCA | Costarelli L.,Italian National Research Centres on Ageing INRCA | And 3 more authors.

The diet in the elderly does not provide a sufficient level of nutrients needed to maintain an adequate healthy status leading to micronutrient deficiencies and impaired immune response with subsequent development of degenerative diseases. Nutrient "zinc" is a relevant micronutrient involved in maintaining a good integrity of many body homeostatic mechanisms, including immune efficiency, owing to its requirement for the biological activity of many enzymes, proteins and for cellular proliferation and genomic stability. Old people aged 60-65 years and older have zinc intakes below 50% of the recommended daily allowance on a given day. Many causes can be involved: among them, altered intestinal absorption, inadequate mastication, psychosocial factors, drugs interactions, altered subcellular processes (zinc transporters (Zip and ZnT family), metallothioneins, divalent metal transporter-1). Zinc supplementation may remodel the immune alterations in elderly leading to healthy ageing. Several zinc trials have been carried out with contradictory data, perhaps due to incorrect choice of an effective zinc supplementation in old subjects showing subsequent zinc toxic effects on immunity. Old subjects with specific IL-6 polymorphism (GG allele carriers; named C-) are more prone for zinc supplementation than the entire old population, in whom correct dietary habits with foods containing zinc (Mediterranean diet) may be sufficient in restoring zinc deficiency and impaired immune response. We summarise the main causes of low zinc dietary intake in elderly reporting an update on the impact of zinc supplementation upon the immune response also on the basis of individual IL-6 polymorphism. © 2012 American Aging Association. Source

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