Response of Liver and Heart Trace Elements in Rats to the Interaction Between Dietary Zinc and Iron

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An analysis of the interaction between dietary iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) was performed by using data from Sprague-Dawley rats in a 5 × 4 fully crossed factorially arranged experiment. The concentrations of 9 trace elements from the liver and 10 from the heart were determined and subjected to diverse statistical analyses and were classified by their response to the interaction between dietary Fe and Zn. The interaction was studied by using analysis of variance (ANOVA), discriminant analysis, and logistic regression to determine the direction of interaction; that is, did dietary Fe affect dietary Zn or did dietary Zn affect dietary Fe? The use of discriminant analysis allowed for using multiple parameters (rather than a single parameter) to determine possible interactions between Fe and Zn. Thus, two main levels of interaction were studied: the separate response of each tissue mineral and the response of some grouped minerals. The responses studied were the effect of dietary Zn on tissue trace element parameters, the effect of dietary Fe on the parameters, the effect of dietary Zn on combined (grouped) parameters, and the effect of dietary Fe on combined parameters. As determined by ANOVA, only three individual trace elements–liver Fe, Cu, and Mo–were significantly affected by the interaction between Fe and Zn. However, a broader interaction between Fe and Zn is revealed when groups of, rather than single, trace elements are studied. For example, an interaction between dietary Fe and Zn affects the weighted linear combination of heart Ca, Cu, K, Mg, Mn, P, and Zn. This article presents the hypothesis that grouped parameters may be useful as status indicators. The complete dataset can be found at http://www.gfhnrc.ars.

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