Gastrointestinal infections: Edited by Mitchell B. CohenMechanisms of action of zinc in acute diarrheaBerni Canani, Robertoa,b; Buccigrossi, Vittoriaa; Passariello, Annalisaa,c Author Information aDepartment of Pediatrics bEuropean Laboratory for the Investigation of Food Induced Diseases, University of Naples ‘Federico II’, Italy cNeonatal Intensive Care Unit, Monaldi Hospital, Naples, Italy Correspondence to Roberto Berni Canani, MD, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, European Laboratory for the Investigation of Food Induced Diseases, University of Naples ‘Federico II’, Via S. Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy Tel: +39 081 7462680; fax: +39 081 7462680; e-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Gastroenterology: January 2011 - Volume 27 - Issue 1 - p 8-12 doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e32833fd48a Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review For over a decade, the importance of zinc in the treatment of acute diarrhea has been recognized. More recently, the mechanisms of action of zinc are becoming clearer. This review is focused on the new evidence on the mechanisms of action of zinc in acute diarrhea. Recent findings The vast majority of data derive from in-vitro studies using intestinal cell lines or from animal model. The positive action by zinc in acute diarrhea derives from a regulation of intestinal fluid transport, mucosal integrity, immunity, gene expression, and oxidative stress. A complex homeostatic network is also able to regulate zinc status at cellular and extracellular level. Summary All these data support the use of zinc in the treatment of acute diarrhea, but further clinical studies are needed to explore the selective effects of zinc against specific pathogens responsible for diarrhea. © 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.