Dietary Zn Deficiency Does Not Influence Systemic Blood Pressure and Vascular Nitric Oxide Signaling in Normotensive Rats

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Because zinc (Zn) is an important component for cell protection against certain oxygen species, it has been suggested that Zn deficiency impairs the potent oxidant defense capacity, which is constitutively provided in the vascular system. However, the influence of dietary Zn deficiency on systemic blood pressure and vascular system is controversial and unclear. We therefore examine the effect of dietary Zn deficiency on systemic blood pressure, a potent superoxide scavenger, aortic Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, a most representative synthase of the endothelium-derived relaxing factor, and aortic endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression. Furthermore, the direct effects of intravenous administration of NOS inhibitor, Nú-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (LNAME), and a SOD mimetic compound, tempol, in normotensives were tested in Wistar–Kyoto (WKY) rats. A Zn-deficient diet (4 wk) contributed to growth retardation, the decrease in thymus weight, and the lower levels of serum Zn compared with the standard diet group. However, no significant difference in conscious systolic and diastolic blood pressure was found in the Zn-deficiency group. The administration of L-NAME caused an increase in the mean arterial pressure (MAP) levels in the two groups of rats and the involvement of the vasodilator nitric oxide (NO) in the regulation of systemic BP in the normotensive state. On the other hand, administration of the superoxide scavenger, tempol, led to a decrease in MAP levels in the two groups of rats, indicating the participation of the oxygen free radical, superoxide, in the maintenance of the systemic BP in a normotensive state. There were no significant differences between the Zn-deficient diet group and the standard diet group in the normotensive state. eNOS expression and Cu/Zn SOD activity in the aorta were also intact in Zn-deficient normotensive rats. These findings suggest that the 4 wk of Zn deficiency was inadequate to alter systemic blood pressure and focal NO signaling in the normotensive state. Long-term Zn deficiency affects the neuronal, immune, and hematopoietic systems, which contribute to systemic and/or local circulation. However, Zn deficiency alone does not cause hypertension and local vascular dysfunction in the normotensive state.

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