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J Biomed Sci. 2017 Nov 20;24(1):87. doi: 10.1186/s12929-017-0394-0.

Zinc transporters and insulin resistance: therapeutic implications for type 2 diabetes and metabolic disease.

Author information

1
Faculty of Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Tasmania, Newnham Campus, Launceston, TAS, 7250, Australia.
2
Faculty of Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Tasmania, Newnham Campus, Launceston, TAS, 7250, Australia. Stephen.myers@utas.edu.au.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Zinc is a metal ion that is essential for growth and development, immunity, and metabolism, and therefore vital for life. Recent studies have highlighted zinc's dynamic role as an insulin mimetic and a cellular second messenger that controls many processes associated with insulin signaling and other downstream pathways that are amendable to glycemic control.

MAIN BODY:

Mechanisms that contribute to the decompartmentalization of zinc and dysfunctional zinc transporter mechanisms, including zinc signaling are associated with metabolic disease, including type 2 diabetes. The actions of the proteins involved in the uptake, storage, compartmentalization and distribution of zinc in cells is under intense investigation. Of these, emerging research has highlighted a role for several zinc transporters in the initiation of zinc signaling events in cells that lead to metabolic processes associated with maintaining insulin sensitivity and thus glycemic homeostasis.

CONCLUSION:

This raises the possibility that zinc transporters could provide novel utility to be targeted experimentally and in a clinical setting to treat patients with insulin resistance and thus introduce a new class of drug target with utility for diabetes pharmacotherapy.

KEYWORDS:

Cell signaling; Glycemic control; Skeletal muscle; Zinc ions

PMID:
29157234
PMCID:
PMC5694903
DOI:
10.1186/s12929-017-0394-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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