Zinc, zinc transporters and diabetes


The role of zinc in islet function has recently achieved new attention as a consequence of the identification of zinc transporter 8 (ZNT8) in islets, and the association of mutations in the gene for this zinc transporter with glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes. ZNT8 is also an autoantigen associated with the appearance of type 1 diabetes. A number of experimental models have been employed to suggest how ZNT8 and other zinc transporters regulate beta cell insulin processing and possibly secretion. An additional role for the zinc transporters in regulating alpha cell function has been suggested. In this issue of Diabetologia, Wijesekara and colleagues, using a cell-specific Znt8 (also known as Slc30a8) knockout model, demonstrate that beta cell insulin processing and glucose tolerance is negatively affected after beta cell knock out of Znt8, whereas Znt8 knockout in alpha cells seems to have little effect on glucagon secretion or glucose tolerance. Although we are yet to see the therapeutic potential of these new findings, the area represents a field through which manipulation of islet function may eventually be possible.
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)1549-1551
Antal sider3
StatusUdgivet - 2010


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