Zinc level in the body is finely regulated to maintain cellular function. Dysregulation of zinc metabolism may induce a variety of diseases, e.g., diabetes. Zinc participates in insulin synthesis, storage, and secretion by functioning as a "cellular second messenger" in the insulin signaling pathway and glucose homeostasis. The highest zinc concentration is in the pancreas islets. Zinc accumulation in cell granules is manipulated by ZnT8, a zinc transporter expressed predominately in pancreatic α and β cells. A common ZnT8 gene (SLC30A8) polymorphism increases the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and rare mutations may present protective effects. In type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), autoantibodies show specificity for binding two variants of ZnT8 (R or W at amino acid 325) dictated by a polymorphism in SLC30A8. In this review, we summarize the structure, feature, functions, and polymorphisms of ZnT8 along with its association with diabetes and explore future study directions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems