Zinc transporter gene expression and glycemic control in post-menopausal women with Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Meika Foster, Anna Chu, Peter Petocz, Samir Samman*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated often with underlying zinc deficiency and nutritional supplements such as zinc may be of therapeutic benefit in the disease. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 12-week trial in postmenopausal women (n = 48) with Type 2 DM we investigated the effects of supplementation with zinc (40 mg/d) and flaxseed oil (FSO; 2 g/d) on the gene expression of zinc transporters (ZnT1, ZnT5, ZnT6, ZnT7, ZnT8, Zip1, Zip3, Zip7, and Zip10) and metallothionein (MT-1A, and MT-2A), and markers of glycemic control (glucose, insulin, glycosylated hemoglobin [HbA1c]). The homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated. No significant effects of zinc or FSO supplementation were observed on glycemic marker concentrations, HOMA-IR or fold change over 12 weeks in zinc transporter and metallothionein gene expression. In multivariate analysis, the change over 12 weeks in serum glucose concentrations (P = 0.001) and HOMA-IR (P = 0.001) predicted the fold change in Zip10. In secondary analysis, marginal statistical significance was observed with the change in both serum glucose concentrations (P = 0.003) and HOMA-IR (P = 0.007) being predictive of the fold change in ZnT6. ZnT8 mRNA expression was variable; HbA1c levels were higher (P = 0.006) in participants who exhibited ZnT8 expression compared to those who did not. The significant predictive relationships between Zip10, ZnT6, serum glucose and HOMA-IR are preliminary, as is the relationship between HbA1c and ZnT8; nevertheless the observations support an association between Type 2 DM and zinc homeostasis that requires further exploration.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)448-452
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


    • Gene expression
    • Glucose
    • Insulin
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
    • Zinc transporter


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