Antiatherogenic properties of zinc: Implications in endothelial cell metabolism

Bernhard Hennig, Michal Toborek, Craig J. McClain

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Zinc is an essential component of biomembranes and is necessary for maintenance of membrane structure and function. There is evidence that zinc can provide antiatherogenic properties by preventing metabolic physiologic derangements of the vascular endothelium. Because of its antioxidant and membrane-stabilizing properties, zinc appears to be crucial for the protection against cell-destabilizing agents such as polyunsaturated lipids and inflammatory cytokines. Zinc also may be antiatherogenic by interfering with signaling pathways involved in apoptosis. Most importantly, we have evidence that zinc can protect against inflammatory cytokine-mediated activation of oxidative stress-responsive transcription factors, such as nuclear factor κB and AP-1. It is very likely that certain lipids and zinc deficiency may potentiate the cytokine-mediated inflammatory response and endothelial cell dysfunction in atherosclerosis. Thus, the antiatherogenic role of zinc appears to be in its ability to inhibit oxidative stress- responsive factors involved in disruption of endothelial integrity and atherosclerosis. We discuss antiatherogenic properties of zinc with a focus on endothelial cell metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-717
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health ( lPO1 HL36552), the Veterans’ Administration, the General Clinical Research Center (MO1 RR02602-08), and the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station.


  • atherosclerosis
  • cytokines
  • endothelial cells
  • lipids
  • zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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