Zinc and the Immune System



Zinc is an essential trace element that plays an important role in many physiological functions. One of the key functions of zinc is its influence on the immune system. Zinc is required for the development and functioning of immune cells in the innate and the adaptive immune system. Zinc homeostasis is finely controlled within each cell and any deregulation results in impairment of normal functions. Consequences of impaired homeostasis can be observed in many disease models such as infections, allergies, autoimmune diseases, and cancers. Zinc deficiency negatively influences the hematopoiesis and compromises the immune response at multiple molecular, cellular, and systemic levels. This chapter summarizes how zinc is involved in the immune system and how altered zinc levels within cells influence the immune response.


Adaptive immunity Infections Innate immunity Signaling pathways Zinc 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, RWTH Aachen University, University HospitalAachenGermany

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