A link between zinc transport and diabetes

Individuals with a mutation in the gene encoding a zinc transporter, SLC30A8 have an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Insulin granules that are released from pancreatic β cells contain high levels of zinc; however, it is not clear why individuals with mutations in the SLC30A8 zinc transporter gene are predisposed to type 2 diabetes.

In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Yoshio Fujitani and colleagues at Juntendo University investigated the role of zinc transport by SLC30A8 in ? cells. They found that this zinc transporter is required for insulin clearance by the liver and secreted zinc signals to ? cells to stop releasing insulin.

In the accompanying commentary, Alan Attie and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison discuss the dynamic regulatory role of zinc in insulin regulation.

More information: The diabetes-susceptible gene SLC30A8/ZnT8 regulates hepatic insulin clearance, J Clin Invest. 2013;123(10):4513–4524. DOI: 10.1172/JCI68807
Zinc, insulin, and the liver: a ménage à trois, J Clin Invest. 2013;123(10):4136–4139. DOI: 10.1172/JCI72325

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Insulin secretion disrupted by increased fatty acids

Sep 09, 2013

Patients with type 2 diabetes have increased levels of circulating glucose and fatty acids, which lead to disease complications. In healthy individuals, β cells within pancreatic islets release insulin in response to glucose ...

'Security guard' zinc is off-duty in diabetes

Jul 06, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- In type 2 diabetes, a protein called amylin forms dense clumps that shut down insulin-producing cells, wreaking havoc on the control of blood sugar. But in people without diabetes, amylin doesn't misbehave; ...

Recommended for you

Rosemary and oregano contain diabetes-fighting compounds

5 hours ago

The popular culinary herbs oregano and rosemary are packed with healthful compounds, and now lab tests show they could work in much the same way as prescription anti-diabetic medication, scientists report. In their new study ...

User comments