Author(s): Myers SA, Nield A, Myers M
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Abstract Zinc is an essential trace element that plays a vital role in maintaining many biological processes and cellular homeostasis. Dysfunctional zinc signaling is associated with a number of chronic disease states including cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes. Cellular homeostasis requires mechanisms that tightly control the uptake, storage, and distribution of zinc. This is achieved through the coordinated actions of zinc transporters and metallothioneins. Evidence on the role of these proteins in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is now emerging. Zinc plays a key role in the synthesis, secretion and action of insulin in both physiological and pathophysiological states. Moreover, recent studies highlight zinc's dynamic role as a "cellular second messenger" in the control of insulin signaling and glucose homeostasis. This suggests that zinc plays an unidentified role as a novel second messenger that augments insulin activity. This previously unexplored concept would raise a whole new area of research into the pathophysiology of insulin resistance and introduce a new class of drug target with utility for diabetes pharmacotherapy.
This article was published in J Nutr Metab
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism