Over the past decades, hypomagnesemia (serum Mg(2+) <0.7 mmol/L) has been strongly associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Patients with hypomagnesemia show a more rapid disease progression and have an increased risk for diabetes complications. Clinical studies demonstrate that T2DM patients with hypomagnesemia have reduced pancreatic β-cell activity and are more insulin resistant. Moreover, dietary Mg(2+) supplementation for patients with T2DM improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Intracellular Mg(2+) regulates glucokinase, KATP channels, and L-type Ca(2+) channels in pancreatic β-cells, preceding insulin secretion. Moreover, insulin receptor autophosphorylation is dependent on intracellular Mg(2+) concentrations, making Mg(2+) a direct factor in the development of insulin resistance. Conversely, insulin is an important regulator of Mg(2+) homeostasis. In the kidney, insulin activates the renal Mg(2+) channel transient receptor potential melastatin type 6 that determines the final urinary Mg(2+) excretion. Consequently, patients with T2DM and hypomagnesemia enter a vicious circle in which hypomagnesemia causes insulin resistance and insulin resistance reduces serum Mg(2+) concentrations. This Perspective provides a systematic overview of the molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of Mg(2+) on insulin secretion and insulin signaling. In addition to providing a review of current knowledge, we provide novel directions for future research and identify previously neglected contributors to hypomagnesemia in T2DM.
© 2016 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.