Expression of the zinc transporters genes and metallothionein in obese women

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Nov;143(2):603-11. doi: 10.1007/s12011-010-8887-7. Epub 2010 Oct 30.


Research has investigated the participation of zinc transport proteins and metallothionein in the metabolism of this mineral. However, studies about the genetic expression of these proteins in obese patients are scarce. The study determined the expression of zinc transporter protein codifying genes (ZnT-1, Zip-1 and Zip-3) and of metallothionein in 55 obese women, aged between 20 and 56 years. The assessment of body composition was carried out using anthropometric measurements and bioelectrical impedance. Zinc intake was obtained by recording diet over a 3-day period, and the nutritional analysis was carried out using NutWin software version 1.5. The plasmatic and erythrocytary zinc were analyzed by atomic absorption spectrophotometry (λ=213. 9 nm). The determination of mRNA expression of the zinc transporter proteins and metallothionein was carried out using blood, using the RT-PCR method. The mean values of body mass index were 37.9±5.5 kg/m2. The average intake of zinc was 9.4±2.3 mg/day. The analysis of the zinc plasma concentrations showed values of 58.4±10.9 μg/dL. The mean values of zinc in the erythroytes were 38.7±9.1 μg/g Hb. The metallothionein gene had a higher expression in the blood, when compared to zinc transporters ZnT-1, Zip-1, and Zip-3 (p=0.01). The study shows that there are alterations in the biochemical parameters of zinc in obese patients assessed, as well as higher expression of the codifying gene metallothionein, when compared to the investigated zinc transporters.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition / genetics
  • Cation Transport Proteins / blood*
  • Cation Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Metallothionein / blood*
  • Metallothionein / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic
  • Young Adult
  • Zinc / administration & dosage
  • Zinc / blood


  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • SLC30A1 protein, human
  • SLC39A1 protein, human
  • SLC39A3 protein, human
  • Metallothionein
  • Zinc