Zinc toxicity, zinc deficiency and zinc-copper interrelationship in Eimeria acervulina-infected chicks

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Three experiments were conducted with young chicks to investigate the effect of duodenal coccidiosis caused by Eimeria acervulina infection on Zn toxicity, Zn deficiency and the interrelationship between Zn and Cu. The coccidial infection depressed both rate and efficiency of wieght gain. Dietary Zn addition at 2000 mg/kg depressed performance only slightly, but the 4000 mg/kg reduced both gain and gain/feed markedly. The coccidial infection appeared to have an ameliorative effect on Zn toxicity as assessed by performance and by hematological parameters. Excess Zn (2000 and 4000 mg/kg) dramatically increased liver, pancreas and bone Zn levels. The coccidial infection, however, decreased tissue Zn levels. Copper toxicity caused by feeding 500 mg Cu per kilogram diet was exacerbated by E. acervulina infection. A Zn-Cu antagonism was observed in both control and in coccidiosis-infected chicks. Excess dietary Zn decreased tissue Cu deposition, but excess Cu did not affect tissue Zn deposition. Copper partially ameliorated Zn toxicity symptoms. The efficacy of Cu in overcoming the Zn-induced depressed hematological parameters, however, was enhanced slightly by coccidiosis. E. acervulina infection did not affect the chick's Zn requirement. Growth data were more reliable as indicators of the Zn requirement than were blood or bone parameters.

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Journal of Nutrition

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