The role of zinc dynamics in growth hormone secretion

Horm Res Paediatr. 2013;80(6):381-9. doi: 10.1159/000355408. Epub 2013 Nov 26.


Human growth hormone (GH) causes a variety of physiological and metabolic effects in humans and plays a pivotal role in postnatal growth. In somatotroph cells of the anterior pituitary, GH is stored in concentrated forms in secretory granules to be rapidly released upon GH-releasing hormone stimulation. During the process of secretory granule biogenesis, self-association of GH occurs in the compartments of the early secretory pathway (endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complex). Since this process is greatly facilitated by the presence of zinc ions, it is of importance to understand the potential role of zinc transporters that participate in the fine-tuning of zinc homeostasis and dynamics, particularly in the early secretory pathway. Thus, the role of zinc transporters in supplying the secretory pathway with the sufficient amount of zinc required for the biogenesis of GH-containing secretory granules is essential for normal secretion. This report, illustrated by a clinical case report on transient neonatal zinc deficiency, focuses on the role of zinc in GH storage in the secretory granules and highlights the role of specific zinc transporters in the early secretory pathway. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Growth Disorders / etiology
  • Growth Disorders / metabolism
  • Human Growth Hormone / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Metal Metabolism, Inborn Errors / diagnosis
  • Metal Metabolism, Inborn Errors / etiology
  • Metal Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism
  • Milk, Human / chemistry
  • Milk, Human / metabolism
  • Zinc / deficiency
  • Zinc / metabolism
  • Zinc / physiology*


  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Zinc

Supplementary concepts

  • Zinc Deficiency, Neonatal, due to Low Breast Milk Zinc