1. A new method has been developed for the study of zinc metabolism in man using the stable isotope 67Zn. The technique involves intravenous infusion of the isotope followed by measurements of the plasma and faecal enrichments over a period of days.
2. A procedure for the analysis of Zn isotopes in plasma and faeces is described which requires the separation of Zn from other elements using the chelator dithizone before analysis by thermal-ionization mass spectrometry.
3. The stable isotope technique has been used in conjunction with a metabolic balance study to obtain measurements of Zn absorption and gastrointestinal secretion in a normal subject. Preliminary measurements of the size of the exchangeable pool of Zn have been made as have estimates of the rates of plasma and whole-body Zn turnover.
4. Following an increase in dietary Zn the body appeared to respond in two ways. The gastrointestinal secretion of Zn increased immediately, but only by a relatively small amount. The absorption of Zn initially increased in proportion to the increase in dietary levels but then decreased within 4 d by an amount sufficient to restore Zn balance.
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