Zinc and redox signaling: perturbations associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2010 Nov 15;13(10):1549-73. doi: 10.1089/ars.2010.3111.


Cellular signal transduction pathways are influenced by the zinc and redox status of the cell. Numerous chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes mellitus (DM), have been associated with impaired zinc utilization and increased oxidative stress. In humans, mutations in the MT-1A and ZnT8 genes, both of which are involved in the maintenance of zinc homeostasis, have been linked with DM development. Changes in levels of intracellular free zinc may exacerbate oxidative stress in CVD and DM by impacting glutathione homeostasis, nitric oxide signaling, and nuclear factor-kappa B-dependent cellular processes. Zinc ions have been shown to influence insulin and leptin signaling via the phosphoinositide 3′-kinase/Akt pathway, potentially linking an imbalance of zinc at the cellular level to insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. The oxidative modification of cysteine residues in zinc coordination sites in proteins has been implicated in cellular signaling and regulatory pathways. Despite the many interactions between zinc and cellular stress responses, studies investigating the potential therapeutic benefit of zinc supplementation in the prevention and treatment of oxidative stress-related chronic disease in humans are few and inconsistent. Further well-designed randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the effects of zinc supplementation in populations at various stages of CVD and DM progression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Zinc / deficiency
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Zinc