Review: The role of zinc in the endocrine system

Pak J Pharm Sci. 2019 Jan;32(1):231-239.


Zinc is essential in the regulation of a variety of physiological and biochemical events in the organism. It plays a critical role in maintaining the cell membrane integrity, protein-carbohydrate-lipid metabolism, immune system, wound injury and in the regulation of a number of other biological processes associated with normal growth and development. Physiological and biochemical levels of many hormones are affected by zinc metabolism. Therefore, growth impairment, hypogonadism, and some endocrine diseases are associated with the deficiency of zinc. These effects of zinc are considered versatile. Zinc increases the synthesis of the growth hormone and its number of receptors; thus, it is an important mediator in the binding of this hormone to its receptor. Found in a large quantity in the pancreas tissue, zinc has a part in the regulation of the effect of insulin. Zinc is involved to much more thyroid hormone metabolism such as hormone synthesis, receptor activity, conversion of T4 to T3, and production of carrier proteins. The low levels of zinc and high levels of leptin in obese individuals point to a critical relationship between zinc and leptin. Zinc is related to enzyme activity to melatonin synthesis. Melatonin has regulatory activity for zinc absorption from gastrointestinal system. Zinc particularly affects the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, as 5α-reductase that is involved in this conversion is a zinc-dependent enzyme. In consideration of these relations, zinc is accepted to play critical roles in the endocrine system. The aim of the current review is to draw attention to the effects of zinc on the endocrine system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endocrine System / metabolism*
  • Endocrine System / physiopathology
  • Endocrine System Diseases / metabolism*
  • Endocrine System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Hormones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Secretory Pathway
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Hormones
  • Zinc