Marginal zinc deficiency negatively affects recovery from muscle injury in mice

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2014 Apr;158(1):65-72. doi: 10.1007/s12011-014-9901-2. Epub 2014 Feb 4.


The aim of the present study was to elucidate whether the recovery from muscle injury is impaired in marginal zinc deficiency. C57BL/6 male mice were fed a marginally zinc-deficient diet (MZD: 8 mg Zn/kg diet), a zinc-adequate diet (ZA: zinc 35 mg Zn/kg diet), and a zinc-high diet (ZH: 190 mg Zn/kg diet) for 4 weeks. Muscle injury was induced in the gastrocnemius muscles using cardiotoxin. The gastrocnemius muscles of these mice were harvested at 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, and 20 days after injury. We evaluated the regeneration of the skeletal muscle with hematoxylin and eosin staining and developmental myosin heavy-chain (dMHC: implicated in regeneration) immunostaining. The rate of dMHC-positive cells was significantly low in MZD mice compared with ZA mice at 3 days after cardiotoxin injection. The peak dMHC expression was found at 3 days after injection in ZA mice, 5 days in ZH mice, and 7 days in MZD mice. These results suggest that recovery from muscle injury might be partly impaired and delayed in MZD mice. Therefore, we strongly suggest the appropriate zinc intake to prevent the impairment of skeletal muscle regeneration.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cobra Cardiotoxin Proteins
  • Diet
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Diseases / chemically induced
  • Muscular Diseases / metabolism
  • Muscular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / metabolism
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Zinc / blood
  • Zinc / deficiency
  • Zinc / pharmacology*


  • Cobra Cardiotoxin Proteins
  • Myosin Heavy Chains
  • Zinc