Library Subscription: Guest
Begell Digital Portal Begell Digital Library eBooks Journals References & Proceedings Research Collections
Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology
IF: 1.241 5-Year IF: 1.349 SJR: 0.356 SNIP: 0.613 CiteScore™: 1.61

ISSN Print: 0731-8898
ISSN Online: 2162-6537

Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology

DOI: 10.1615/JEnvironPatholToxicolOncol.v25.i3.40
pages 597-610

The Role of Zinc in Life: A Review

Stefania Frassinetti
National Research Council, Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology (IBBA), Section of Pisa, Via Moruzzi 1, 56124, Pisa, Italy
Giorgio L. Bronzetti
Head, Istituto di Mutagenesi e Differenziamento Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche 10, Via Svezia 56100; and National Research Council, Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology (IBBA), Section of Pisa, Via Moruzzi 1, 56124, Pisa, Italy
Leonardo Caltavuturo
National Research Council, Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology (IBBA), Section of Pisa, Via Moruzzi 1, 56124, Pisa, Italy
Marco Cini
National Research Council, Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology (IBBA), Section of Pisa, Via Moruzzi 1, 56124, Pisa, Italy
Clara Della Croce
National Research Council, Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology (IBBA), Section of Pisa, Via Moruzzi 1, 56124, Pisa, Italy

ABSTRACT

Zinc is a common element in human and natural environments and plays an important part in many biological processes. Zinc, which is defined as an “essential trace element,” or a “micronutrient,” is essential for the normal growth and the reproduction of all higher plants and animals, and of humans. In addition, it plays a key role during physiological growth and fulfills an immune function. It is vital for the functionality of more than 300 enzymes, for the stabilization of DNA, and for gene expression. This review summarizes the role and manifestations of zinc in the environment and its importance for human health and metabolism, as well as its physiological role. Toxicity, teratogenicity, carcinogenicity, and immunological functions of zinc are outlined with particular reference to the properties of zinc as an antioxidant, and its role in cancer prevention.