Effects of zinc levels on activities of gastrointestinal enzymes in growing rats.
ABSTRACT The present study investigated the effect of different zinc (Zn) levels on activities of gastrointestinal digestive enzymes of growing rats. Four diets including Zn-adequate (ZA; 46 mg/kg, control), Zn-deficient (ZD; 3 mg/kg), high Zn supply (ZH; 234 mg/kg) and pair-fed in which animals received the ZA diet at restricted amounts reflecting feed intake of the ZD group were fed to rats for 5 weeks. Dietary Zn was supplemented with ZnO. The results showed that Zn deficiency resulted in decreases in body weight, while ZH supply stimulated growth. The activities of sucrase, lactase and lipase were unaffected by dietary Zn levels. Maltase activity, however, was reduced in ZD group and elevated in ZH group. Amylase and protease activities were depressed by zinc deficiency. However, rats fed the Zn-repletion diet displayed higher activity of pepsin, pancreatic amylase and protease. In particular, ZH supply did have no effect on intestinal hydrolases activities. The present study suggested that zinc deficiency impaired the activities of digestive enzymes and growth of animals. However, ZH supply might improve the digestion of nutrients via increasing activities of gastrointestinal hydrolase and probably enhanced animal health.