The beneficial effect of dietary zinc supplementation on anaemia and immunosuppression in Trypanosoma brucei infected rats

Exp Parasitol. 2015 Jul:154:87-92. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2015.04.015. Epub 2015 Apr 23.


Zinc is an essential trace element crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating nonspecific immunity and protects bio-molecules from oxidative damage. This study was designed to assess the effects of dietary zinc supplementation on anaemia and immunity of trypanosome-infected rats. Thirty rats, divided into five groups (A-E) of 6 each, were used for the study. Parameters used to assess the effect of the supplementation are antibody response to Sheep RBC using direct haemagglutination test, parasitaemia using the rapid matching method, WBC count using the improved Neubauer haemocytometer method, haemoglobin concentration using the cynomethaemoglobin technique while PCV was determined using the microhaematocrit method. The pre-infection supplementation did not prolong the pre-patent period significantly (p > 0.05). However, it significantly (p < 0.05) increased the packed cell volume (PCV), haemoglobin (Hb) concentration, leucocyte count, and antibody titre by day 7 on the supplementation (OTS). Following infection on day 7 OTS, the PCV and Hb decreased but remained significantly (p < 0.05) higher than the infected not supplemented (INS) group, while on day 14 OTS, they maintained a significantly (p < 0.05) higher antibody titre as compared to other groups. On day 21 OTS, theweight of 8 ppm and not infected not supplemented (NINS) groups was significantly (p < 0.05) higher but the relative organ weight of their liver and spleen was significantly (p < 0.05) lower than 2 ppm, 4 ppm and INS groups. On day 21 OTS, the parasitaemia levels of INS group was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than the supplemented groups. From the results, dietary zinc supplementation can be useful in the management of anaemia and immunosupression caused by trypanosomes in rats.

Keywords: Anaemia; Dietary zinc; Immunosupression; Rats; Trypanosomosis.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / drug therapy
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Anemia / prevention & control*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Erythrocytes / immunology
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Immune Tolerance / drug effects*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / pathology
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Parasitemia / drug therapy
  • Parasitemia / prevention & control
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Sheep
  • Spleen / drug effects
  • Spleen / pathology
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / drug effects*
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / complications
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / drug therapy*
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / immunology
  • Zinc / administration & dosage*


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Hemoglobins
  • Zinc