A low-risk ZnT-8 allele (W325) for post-transplantation diabetes mellitus is protective against cyclosporin A-induced impairment of insulin secretion

Pharmacogenomics J. 2011 Jun;11(3):191-8. doi: 10.1038/tpj.2010.22. Epub 2010 Mar 30.


SLC30A8 encodes the β-cell-specific zinc transporter-8 (ZnT-8) expressed in insulin secretory granules. The single-nucleotide polymorphism rs13266634 of SLC30A8 is associated with susceptibility to post-transplantation diabetes mellitus (PTDM). We tested the hypothesis that the polymorphic residue at position 325 of ZnT-8 determines the susceptibility to cyclosporin A (CsA) suppression of insulin secretion. INS (insulinoma)-1E cells expressing the W325 variant showed enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) and were less sensitive to CsA suppression of GSIS. A reduced number of insulin granule fusion events accompanied the decrease in insulin secretion in CsA-treated cells expressing ZnT-8 R325; however, ZnT-8 W325-expressing cells exhibited resistance to the dampening of insulin granule fusion by CsA, and transported zinc ions into secretory vesicles more efficiently. Both tacrolimus and rapamycin caused similar suppression of GSIS in cells expressing ZnT-8 R325. However, cells expressing ZnT-8 W325 were resistant to tacrolimus, but not to rapamycin. The Down's syndrome candidate region-1 (DSCR1), an endogenous calcineurin inhibitor, overexpression and subsequent calcineurin inhibition significantly reduced GSIS in cells expressing the R325 but not the W325 variant, suggesting that differing susceptibility to CsA may be due to different interactions with calcineurin. These data suggest that the ZnT-8 W325 variant is protective against CsA-induced suppression of insulin secretion. Tolerance of ZnT-8 W325 to calcineurin activity may account for its protective effect in PTDM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Pharmacological
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Cation Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Cell Line
  • Cyclosporine / adverse effects*
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Mice
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Rats
  • Zinc Transporter 8


  • Biomarkers, Pharmacological
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Insulin
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • RCAN1 protein, human
  • SLC30A8 protein, human
  • Zinc Transporter 8
  • Cyclosporine
  • Glucose