Zinc transporters and insulin resistance: therapeutic implications for type 2 diabetes and metabolic disease
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.
Clifford Craig Foundation
Publication titleJournal of Biomedical Science
Department/SchoolSchool of Health Sciences
Place of publicationSwitzerland
Rights statement© 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/