Selenium and zinc protect brain mitochondrial antioxidants and electron transport chain enzymes following postnatal protein malnutrition

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Abstract

Aims:

Selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn) are trace elements required for optimal brain functions. Thus, the role of Se and Zn against protein malnutrition induced oxidative stress on mitochondrial antioxidants and electron transport chain (ETC) enzymes from rats' brain were investigated.

Main methods:

Normal protein (NP) and low protein (LP) rats were fed with diets containing 16% and 5% casein respectively for a period of 10 weeks. Then the rats were supplemented with Se and Zn at a concentration of 0.15 mg L− 1 and 227 mg L− 1 in drinking water for 3 weeks after which the rats were sacrificed.

Key findings:

The results obtained from the study showed significant (p < 0.05) increase in lipid peroxidation (LPO), ROS production, oxidized glutathione (GSSG) levels and mitochondrial swelling and significant (p < 0.05) reductions in catalase (CAT) and Mn-superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD) activities, glutathione (GSH) levels, GSH/GSSG ratio and MTT reduction as a result of LP ingestion. The activities of mitochondrial ETC enzymes were also significantly inhibited in both the cortex and cerebellum of LP-fed rats. Supplementation with either Se or Zn restored the alterations in all the parameters.

Significance:

The study showed that Se and Zn might be beneficial in protecting mitochondrial antioxidants and ETC enzymes against protein malnutrition induced oxidative stress.

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