Deficiency of zinc, which modulates glutamate release, might increase ischemic vulnerability of the brain. We examined effects of dietary zinc deficiency for 2 weeks on ischemic vulnerability in several brain regions using dynamic positron autoradiography technique and [18F]2-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose with rat brain slices. In the normal diet group, the cerebral glucose metabolic rate (CMRglc) was not significantly different from that of the ischemia-unloaded control even after the loading of ischemia for 45 min. However, in the zinc-deficient diet group, CMRglc was significantly lower than that of the ischemia-unloaded control after loading of ischemia for 45 min. With treatment of MK-801 (NMDA receptor antagonist) from the start of ischemia loading, CMRglc was not significantly different from that of the ischemia-unloaded control. These findings, obtained for all analyzed brain regions, suggest that dietary zinc deficiency increased ischemic vulnerability in the brain, and that glutamate might contribute to this effect through activation of the NMDA receptor.
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