Proteomic analysis reveals altered expression of proteins related to glutathione metabolism and apoptosis in the small intestine of zinc oxide-supplemented piglets. Academic Article uri icon


  • Zinc is an important dietary factor that regulates intestinal amino acid and protein metabolism in animals. Recent work with the piglet, an established animal model for studying human infant nutrition, has shown that supplementing high levels of zinc oxide (ZnO) to the diet ameliorates weaning-associated intestinal injury and growth retardation. However, the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. This study tested the hypothesis that zinc supplementation affects expression of proteins related to glutathione metabolism and oxidative stress in the gut. Using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, we identified 22 up-regulated and 19 down-regulated protein spots in the jejunum of weanling piglets supplemented with ZnO (3,000 mg/kg Zn) compared with the control pigs (100 mg/kg Zn). These proteins are related to energy metabolism (increased level for succinyl-CoA transferase and decreased level for creatine kinase M-type); oxidative stress (decreased levels for 78 kDa glucose-regulated protein and glutathione-S-transferase-omega); and cell proliferation and apoptosis (increased levels for A-Raf-1 and calregulin). Consistent with the changes in protein expression, the ratio of reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione was increased, whereas glutathione-S-transferase and glutathione peroxidase activities as well as the protein level of active caspase-3 were reduced in ZnO-supplemented piglets. Collectively, these results indicate that ZnO supplementation improves the redox state and prevents apoptosis in the jejunum of weaning piglets, thereby alleviating weaning-associated intestinal dysfunction and malabsorption of nutrients (including amino acids).

published proceedings

  • Amino Acids

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, X., Ou, D., Yin, J., Wu, G., & Wang, J.

citation count

  • 88

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Xiaoqiu||Ou, Deyuan||Yin, Jingdong||Wu, Guoyao||Wang, Junjun

publication date

  • May 2009