The localization of two members of the Slc39a (zip1 and zip4) family of zinc transporters was examined in the brains of adult mice. Zip1 was highly enriched in brain regions with high densities of neuronal cell bodies, including the hippocampus, thalamus, and perifontal cortex. Zip1 was also expressed in commissural fiber tracts such as the corpus callosum and anterior commissure, but little was found in the internal and external capsules. Also, very low amounts of zip1 mRNA were detected in resting astrocytes and reactive astrocytes that were examined at 14 days after inflicting a stab wound. Zip1 mRNA was detected in ependymal cells lining the third and lateral ventricles and epithelium cells in the choroid plexus. Interestingly, zip4 mRNA was detected in the choroid plexus but not in the ependymal cells or other neural elements. Zip4 mRNA was also detected in brain capillaries, but zip1 mRNA was not. In zip4 knockout heterozygotes that express green fluorescent protein regulated by the zip4 promoter, green fluorescent protein was detected in brain capillaries. Because zip4 levels are regulated by dietary Zn, our studies suggest that the brain has the potential of adapting to changes in Zn status.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.