Zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8) and its role in the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes mellitus

Mariam Balakhadze, Elene Giorgadze, Marina Lomidze


Diabetes is one of the most challenging chronic and heterogeneous diseases all over the world. For now it is already established, that in most of the cases Diabetes Type 1 results from autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the islets of Langerhans. The combined measurement of zinc transporter 8 antibodies (ZnT8A), glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies (GADA), insulinoma associated autoantigen 2  antibodies (IA2A), and insulin antibodies (IAA)  raised autoimmunity detection rates at disease onset. Zinc (Zn) plays essential roles in cellular metabolism of mammals. The pancreatic islet β-cell is among the cells which contain high levels of zinc. It is concentrated in the insulin secretory granules and is essential for the proper storage, secretion, and the action of insulin. Zinc transport in mammalians is regulated by the family of Zn transporters.  ZnT8 is expressed in pancreatic islet β-cells. The essential role of this protein is to transports zinc ions from the cytosol into the vesicles of β-cells for insulin secration and storage. ZnT8 is one of main antigens in the etiology of type 1 diabetes mellitus and it can be used as diagnostic and predictive tool for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. Though the onset of type 1 diabetes  cannot be prevented, it is still very important to reveal the different risk groups as the knowledge  of the increased risk can help to prevent acute onset of the disease with ketoacidosis and concomitant morbidities.


Diabetes; Autoimmunity; ZnT8; Antibodies

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