The neurophysiology and pathology of brain zinc

J Neurosci. 2011 Nov 9;31(45):16076-85. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3454-11.2011.


Our understanding of the roles played by zinc in the physiological and pathological functioning of the brain is rapidly expanding. The increased availability of genetically modified animal models, selective zinc-sensitive fluorescent probes, and novel chelators is producing a remarkable body of exciting new data that clearly establishes this metal ion as a key modulator of intracellular and intercellular neuronal signaling. In this Mini-Symposium, we will review and discuss the most recent findings that link zinc to synaptic function as well as the injurious effects of zinc dyshomeostasis within the context of neuronal death associated with major human neurological disorders, including stroke, epilepsy, and Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Diseases / genetics
  • Brain Diseases / metabolism
  • Brain Diseases / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons* / metabolism
  • Neurons* / pathology
  • Neurons* / physiology
  • Neurophysiology*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / genetics
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Zinc / metabolism*
  • Zinc / pharmacology


  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Zinc