Zinc Nutrition and Inflammation in the Aging Retina

Rosie Gilbert, Tunde Peto, Imre Lengyel, Eszter Emri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


Zinc is an essential nutrient for human health. It plays key roles in maintaining protein structure and stability, serves as catalytic factor for many enzymes and regulates diverse fundamental cellular processes. Zinc is important in affecting signal transduction and, in particular, in the development and integrity of the immune system, where it affects both innate and adaptive immune responses. The eye, especially the retina/choroid complex, has an unusually high concentration of zinc compared to other tissues. The highest amount of zinc is concentrated in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) (RPE/choroid, 292±98.5 μg/g dry tissue), followed by the retina (123±62.2 μg/g dry tissue). The interplay between zinc and inflammation has been explored in other parts of the body but, so far, has not been extensively researched in the eye. Several lines of evidence suggest that ocular zinc concentration decreases with age, especially in the context of age-related disease. Thus, a hypothesis that retinal function could be modulated by zinc nutrition was proposed, and subsequently trialled clinically. In this review, we outline the distribution and the potential role of zinc in the retina-choroid complex, especially in relation to inflammation and immunity, and summarize the clinical studies to date. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Nutrition & Food Research
Early online date30 May 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 30 May 2019

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This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


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