Zinc is a micronutrient that is essential for normal protein production and for various enzymes to function properly in the body. Levels are important to regulate because too much can be toxic to the kidneys whereas too little can lead to problems with immune and metabolic function as well as infertility.
In a new study published in American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology, researchers were interested in how zinc is transported in the kidneys of various animals as some studies suggest that zinc might actually help form kidney stones. Yikes!
The researchers studied a specific zinc transporter, known as ZIP10, in the kidneys of dogs, mice, and humans. Interestingly, they detected the transporter in the same two regions of the kidney in dogs and humans whereas it was only found in one region of the kidney in mice. The specific locations of the transporter suggested to researchers that the kidneys of humans and dogs may prevent zinc loss in the urine to protect homeostasis. It is also possible that these differences in where the transporter is found may help explain why mice resist forming kidney stones.
Landry GM, Furrow E, Holmes HL, Hirata T, Kato A, Williams P, Strohmaier K, Gallo CJR, Chang M, Pandey MK, Jiang H, Bansal A, Franz M-C, Montalbetti N, Alexander MP, Cabrero P, Dow JAT, DeGrado TR, Romero MF. Cloning, function, and localization of human, canine, and Drosophila ZIP10 (SLC39A10), a Zn2+ transporter. American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology. 316(2): F263-F273, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajprenal.00573.2017