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Open AccessArticle

Zinc Status Affects Glucose Homeostasis and Insulin Secretion in Patients with Thalassemia

Department of Hematology/Oncology at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, 747 52nd Street Oakland, CA 94609, USA
Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, 5700 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland, CA 94609, USA
The Pediatric Clinical Research Center, 747 52nd Street Oakland, CA 94609, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2015, 7(6), 4296-4307;
Received: 10 February 2015 / Revised: 8 May 2015 / Accepted: 12 May 2015 / Published: 2 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Zinc and Human Health)
Up to 20% of adult patients with Thalassemia major (Thal) live with diabetes, while 30% may be zinc deficient. The objective of this study was to explore the relationship between zinc status, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in Thal patients. Charts from thirty subjects (16 male, 27.8 ± 9.1 years) with Thal were reviewed. Patients with low serum zinc had significantly lower fasting insulin, insulinogenic and oral disposition indexes (all p < 0.05) and elevated glucose response curve, following a standard 75 g oral load of glucose compared to those with normal serum zinc after controlling for baseline (group × time interaction p = 0.048). Longitudinal data in five patients with a decline in serum zinc over a two year follow up period (−19.0 ± 9.6 μg/dL), showed consistent increases in fasting glucose (3.6 ± 3.2 mg/dL) and insulin to glucose ratios at 120 min post glucose dose (p = 0.05). Taken together, these data suggest that the frequently present zinc deficiency in Thal patients is associated with decreased insulin secretion and reduced glucose disposal. Future zinc trials will require modeling of oral glucose tolerance test data and not simply measurement of static indices in order to understand the complexities of pancreatic function in the Thal patient. View Full-Text
Keywords: Zinc; Diabetes; Thalassemia; Glucose intolerance Zinc; Diabetes; Thalassemia; Glucose intolerance
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Fung, E.B.; Gildengorin, G.; Talwar, S.; Hagar, L.; Lal, A. Zinc Status Affects Glucose Homeostasis and Insulin Secretion in Patients with Thalassemia. Nutrients 2015, 7, 4296-4307.

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