A 303-bp cDNA of intestinal zinc exporter (ZnT1) was isolated from chicken jejunum by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and sequenced, and showed 42% homology to Homo sapiens and Rattus novergicus intestinal ZnT1 genes. This specific probe was used to examine the effect of zinc-methionine (ZnMet) administration on the mRNA expression of ZnT1 and on small intestinal development and functionality. In this study, ZnMet was injected into the naturally consumed amniotic fluid of 17-day-old chicken embryos. The ZnT1 gene showed an approximately 200% increase in its mRNA levels from 48 h post-ZnMet injection, as compared to the control. An analysis of the gene expression of the brush-border enzymes and transporters showed increased mRNA expression of sucrase isomaltase, leucine-aminopeptidase, sodium-glucose cotransporter and Na+K+ATPase transporter (Na+K +ATPase) from 48 h post-ZnMet injection, in comparison to controls. Significant increases (P<.05) in the biochemical activity of the brush-border enzymes and transporters, and in jejunal villus surface area were detected from day of hatch (96 h post-ZnMet injection) as compared to controls. These results suggest that ZnMet administration into prenatal intestine via injection into the amniotic fluid enhances intestinal development and improves its functionality.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the United States-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD, project no. IS-3311-02).
- Small intestine
- ZnT1 transporter