Zinc Sulfate in the Prevention of Total-Body Irradiation-Induced Early Hematopoietic Toxicity: A Controlled Study in a Rat Model

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Exposure to ionizing total-body radiation suppresses hematopoiesis, resulting in decreased production of blood cells. Many researchers have demonstrated the critical role of zinc (Zn) in diverse physiological processes, such as growth and development, maintenance and priming of the immune system, and tissue repair. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of zinc sulfate (40 mg/kg and 80 mg/kg) on early hematopoietic toxicity, caused by total-body irradiation (TBI) of rats with a single dose of 8 Gy. Both in the Zn 40 and in the Zn 80 groups, there were significantly increased white blood cell (WBC) count, when compared with control group. The WBC count was higher in the control group than in the TBI group. This result was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Both the TBI+Zn 40 and the TBI+Zn 80 groups had a significantly protected WBC count against TBI. No difference was detected in any final measurement of thrombocyte count and hemoglobin level with direct comparison among all groups, with the exception that the hemoglobin level in the Zn 80 group compared to the control group. Whereas hemoglobin level in the control group was at a median figure of 13.98 g/dL (13.30–14.80), it was at a median figure of 14.25 g/dL (14.10–15.50) in the Zn 80 group. It would be worthwhile studying the effect of oral zinc sulfate supplements in radiation-treated cancer patients, in the hope of reducing radiation-induced toxicity.

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