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Zinc is a metallic element, of symbol Zn and atomic number 30, that is placed in the group 12 of the periodic table. As an essential trace element, zinc is required to support human biochemical processes. It is found in nearly 200 specific enzymes in the living organisms, and it also serves as structural cofactor for many cellular proteins. [1]
Zinc may exert pleiotropic effects in organism; for that, deficits of cellular zinc content can have catastrophic consequences and are linked to major pathophysiology, such as diabetes, stroke and malformations of brain function [2]. The complexity and importance of zinc homeostasis is reflected by the large variety and number of zinc-related proteins found in almost every cell compartment; for example, this biometal is transported through ZnT (Zn2+ transporter) family and ZIP family, proteins that are completely dedicated to zinc transport [2]. It is also noticeable, that between three and ten percent of all protein products of genes in mammalian genomes bind zinc, which is essential for their folding, activity or conformational change [2].
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  • Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  • Department of Radioligands, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland
  • Department of Radioligands, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland
  • Department of Radioligands, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland
  • Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland
  • Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland
  • Eby GA. Handbook for curing the common cold: the zinc lozenge story. Austin, Texas U.S.A. Publications Division. 1994.
  • Sekler I, Sensi SL, Hershfinkel M and Silverman WF. Mechanism and Regulation of Cellular Zinc Transport. Mol Med. 2007; 13 (7-8): 337-43
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  • C. S. University. Pathophysiology of the Digestive System. 2006. [Accessed 24 10 2012]. [Online]:
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  • Guerinot ML. The ZIP family of metal transporters. Biochim. Biophys. Acta – Biomembranes. 2000; 1465 (1-2): 190-8
  • Eide DJ. The Zip Family of Zinc Transporters. Mol. Biol. Intelligence Unit. 2005: 261-4
  • Cousins RJ, Liuzzi JP and Lichten LA. Mammalian Zinc Transport, Trafficking and Signals. J. Biol. Chem.. 2006; 281 (34): 24085-9
  • Kambe T, Narita H, Yamaguchi-Iwai Y, Hirose Y, Amano T, Suigura N et al. Cloning and Characterization of a Novel Mammalian Zinc Transporter, Zinc Transporter 5, Abundantly Expressed in Pancreatic β Cells. J. Biol. Chem. 2002; 277 (21): 19049-55
  • Lichten LA, Cousins RJ. Mammalian zinc transporters: nutritional and physiologic regulation. Annu Rev Nutr. 2009; 29: 153-76
  • Seo HJ, Cho YE, Kim T, Shin HI and Kwun IS. Zinc may increase bone formation through stimulating cell proliferation, alkaline phosphatase activity and collagen synthesis in osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells. Nutr. Res. Pract. 2010; 4 (5): 356-61
  • Cerovic A, Miletic I, Sobajic S, Blagojevic D, Radusinovic M and El-Sohemy A. Effects of zinc on the mineralization of bone nodules from human osteoblast-like cells. Biomed. Res. Trace Elem. 2007; 116 (1): 61-71
  • Hadley KB, Newman SM and Hunt JR. Dietary zinc reduces osteoclast resorption activities and increases markers of osteoblast differentiation, matrix maturation, and mineralization in the long bones of growing rats. J. Nutr. Biochem. 2010; 21: 297-303
  • Beyersmann D and Haase H. Functions of zinc in signaling, proliferation and differentiation of mammalian cells. BioMetals. 2001; 14 (3): 331-41
  • Dardenne M. Zinc and immune function. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 2002; 56: 20S-3S
  • Ibs KH and Rink L. Zinc-Altered Immune Function. J. Nutr. 2003; 133: 1452S-6S
  • Shankar AH and Prasad AS. Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1998; 68: 447S-63S
  • Truong-Tran AQ, Ho LH, Chai F and Zalewski PD. Cellular Zinc Fluxes and the Regulation of Apoptosis / Gene-Directed Cell Death. J. Nutr. 2000; 130(5):1459S-66S
  • Sunderman FW. The influence of zinc on apoptosis. Ann Clin Lab Sci. 1995; 25(2): 134-42
  • Levy MA and Bray TM. The Antioxidant Function of Dietary Zinc and Protection Against Neural Disorders. Linus Pauling Institute Research Report. 2003. [Accessed 15 12 2012]. [Online]:
  • Willson RL. Iron, zinc, free radicals and oxygen in tissue disorders and cancer control. Ciba. Found. Symp. 1976; (51): 331-54
  • Roy S, Dutta S, Khanna K, Singla S and Sundar D. Prediction of DNA-binding specificity in zinc finger proteins. J. Biosci. 2012; 37 (3): 483-91
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