Zinc is an essential element in mammalian development. However, little is known about concentrations of zinc in specific regions/organs in the embryo. We have employed selenite autometallography (AMG) and TSQ histofluoroscence to detect histochemically reactive (chelatable) zinc in whole midsagittal embryos and sections from neonatal mice. Chelatable zinc exhibited a broad distribution, being particularly localized to rapidly proliferating tissues, such as skin and gastrointestinal epithelium. Zinc was also observed in various types of tissues such as bone and liver. In the perinatal central nervous system, zinc was present almost exclusively in choroid plexus. The two methods used demonstrated generally similar distributions with some exceptions, e.g., in liver and blood. The ubiquity of zinc in the embryo, particularly in rapidly proliferating tissues, suggests a widespread role in fetal physiology.
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