05 Sep Zinc Deficiency May Increase Risk of Strep Pneumonia
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christopher A. McDevitt B.Sc. (Hons) Ph.D , Associate Professor
Group Leader, ARC Future Fellow
The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
Melbourne | Victoria | Australia
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Zinc-deficiency affects nearly one-third of the world’s population and is associated with an increased susceptibility to respiratory and enteric infections. The foremost global respiratory disease is pneumonia, which kills more than 1 million people per year with young children and the elderly being at greatest risk. This study investigated how zinc-deficiency affected Streptococcus pneumoniae infection, the primary bacterial cause of pneumonia.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: This study showed that dietary zinc helps prevent susceptibility to infection by the bacteria that cause pneumonia. One of our main findings is that we directly show that the body redistributes zinc during infection to help combat invading bacteria. Importantly, we observed that zinc could be concentrated in specific tissues as well as in immune cells (neutrophils and macrophages). Higher zinc levels increased the stress experienced by the bacteria and this aided immune cell killing of the invading pathogen.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The recommended dietary intake of zinc should be in the range of 8-11 mg per day. Zinc in the diet primarily comes from protein and dairy. Although there is often sufficient zinc in plant-based foods, this can be difficult for the body to extract and strict diets can place some individuals at risk of zinc-deficiency.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Our findings highlight the importance of ensuring dietary zinc sufficiency as part of any strategy to control the burden of bacterial pneumonia in conjunction with vaccination and other antimicrobial approaches.
Disclosures: This work was funded by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council. The funders had no role in the design of the study, data collection, data analysis, or in the decision to publish the work.
Bart A. Eijkelkamp, Jacqueline R. Morey, Stephanie L. Neville, Aimee Tan, Victoria G. Pederick, Nerida Cole, Prashina P. Singh, Cheryl-Lynn Y. Ong, Raquel Gonzalez de Vega, David Clases, Bliss A. Cunningham, Catherine E. Hughes, Iain Comerford, Erin B. Brazel, Jonathan J. Whittall, Charles D. Plumptre, Shaun R. McColl, James C. Paton, Alastair G. McEwan, Philip A. Doble, Christopher A. McDevitt.Dietary zinc and the control of Streptococcus pneumoniae infection.PLOS Pathogens, 2019; 15 (8): e1007957 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007957
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