Retinol binding protein expression is induced in HepG2 cells by zinc deficiency

Michael A. Satre, Katayoun Alavi Jessen, Michael S. Clegg, Carl L Keen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Zinc (Zn) deficiency is often associated with low plasma vitamin A (retinol) concentrations. It has been suggested that the reduction in plasma retinol is secondary to reduced liver retinol binding protein (RBP) synthesis. In the present study, RBP expression was determined in HepG2 cells cultured in either Zn adequate media or chelated media containing varying concentrations of Zn. Levels of RBP mRNA increased in a time- and Zn concentration-dependent manner such that 0.5 μM Zn-treated cells exhibited a >7.5-fold increase while cells treated with 15 μM Zn were increased 2.9-fold at 72 h compared to controls. RBP protein also progressively increased by 72 h to levels >8-fold and 3-fold higher than controls, in 0.5 μM and 15 μM Zn-treated cells, respectively. The increase in RBP occurred without any change in DNA concentration between groups through 72 h. The Zn deficiency-induced elevations in RBP transcript levels could be reversed within 24-48 h of repletion in Zn adequate media. Thus, the reductions in plasma retinol observed in Zn deficiency are in part a direct consequence of the deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-271
Number of pages6
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2 2001


  • Hepa 1-6 cell
  • Mouse
  • Retinol binding protein
  • Zinc deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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