Zinc, insulin, and the liver: A ménage à trois

Thomas V. O'Halloran*, Melkam Kebede, Steven J. Philips, Alan D. Attie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Insulin and Zn2+ enjoy a multivalent relationship. Zn 2+ binds insulin in pancreatic β cells to form crystalline aggregates in dense core vesicles (DCVs), which are released in response to physiological signals such as increased blood glucose. This transition metal is an essential cofactor in insulin-degrading enzyme and several key Zn 2+ finger transcription factors that are required for β cell development and insulin gene expression. Studies are increasingly revealing that fluctuations in Zn2+ concentration can mediate signaling events, including dynamic roles that extend beyond that of a static structural or catalytic cofactor. In this issue of the JCI, Tamaki et al. propose an additional function for Zn2+ in relation to insulin: regulation of insulin clearance from the bloodstream.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4136-4139
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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