Roles for endothelial zinc homeostasis in vascular physiology and coronary artery disease

P.D. Zalewski, J.F. Beltrame, A.A. Wawer, A.I. Abdo, C. Murgia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


The discovery of the roles of nitric oxide (NO) in cardiovascular signaling has led to a revolution in the understanding of cardiovascular disease. A new perspective to this story involving zinc (Zn) is emerging. Zn and its associated Zn transporter proteins are important for the integrity and functions of both the large conduit vessels and the microvascular resistance vessels. The Zn and NO pathways are tightly coordinated. Zn ions are required for the dimerization of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and subsequent generation of NO while generation of NO leads to a rapid mobilization of endothelial Zn stores. Labile Zn may mediate important downstream actions of NO including vascular cytoprotection and vasodilation. Several vascular disease risk factors (including aging, smoking and diabetes) interfere with Zn homeostatic mechanisms and both hypozincaemia and Zn transporter protein abnormalities are linked to atherosclerosis and microvascular disease. Some vegetarian diets and long-term use of certain anti-hypertensives may also impact on Zn status. The available evidence supports the existence of a Zn regulatory pathway in the vascular wall that is coupled to the generation and actions of NO and which is compromised in Zn deficiency with consequent implications for the pathogenesis and therapy of vascular disease. © 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3511-3525
Number of pages15
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2019

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