Issue 7, 2014

Multiple impacts of zinc on immune function


Even though zinc is essential for virtually all processes in the human body, observations during zinc deficiency indicate that the absence of this trace element most severely affects the immune response. Numerous investigations of the cellular and molecular requirements for zinc in the immune system have indicated that there is not just one single function of zinc underlying this essentiality. In fact, there is a wide range of different roles of zinc in immunity. This review summarizes the recent developments in three of the major fields: the role of zinc as a second messenger in signal transduction, the importance of zinc for immune cell function, and the competition for zinc between the host and the pathogen, a concept known as nutritional immunity.

Graphical abstract: Multiple impacts of zinc on immune function

Article information

Article type
27 Nov 2013
05 Feb 2014
First published
05 Feb 2014

Metallomics, 2014,6, 1175-1180