Strategies for therapeutic amelioration of aberrant plasma Zn2+ handling in thrombotic disease: targeting fatty acid/serum albumin-mediated effects

Spencer Regan-Smith, Remi Fritzen, Stephen J. Hierons, Ramzi A. Ajjan, Claudia A. Blindauer, Alan J. Stewart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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The initiation, maintenance and regulation of blood coagulation is inexorably linked to the actions of Zn2+ in blood plasma. Zn2+ interacts with a variety of haemostatic proteins in the bloodstream including fibrinogen, histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG) and high molecular weight kininogen (HMWK) to regulate haemostasis. The availability of Zn2+ to bind such proteins is controlled by human serum albumin (HSA), which binds 70-85% plasma Zn2+ under basal conditions. HSA also binds and transports non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs). Upon NEFA binding, there is a change in the structure of HSA which leads to a reduction in its affinity for Zn2+. This enables other plasma proteins to better compete for binding of Zn2+. In diseases where elevated plasma NEFA con-centrations are a feature, such as obesity and diabetes, there is a concurrent increase in hyper-coagulability. Evidence indicates that NEFA-induced perturbation of Zn2+-binding by HSA may contribute to the thrombotic complications frequently observed in these pathophysiological conditions. This review highlights potential interventions - both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical - that may be employed to combat this dysregulation. Lifestyle and dietary changes have been shown to reduce plasma NEFA concentrations. Furthermore, drugs that in-fluence NEFA levels such as statins and fibrates may be useful in this context. In severely obese patients more invasive therapies such as bariatric surgery may be useful. Finally, other potential treatments such as chelation therapies, use of cholesteryl transfer protein (CETP) inhibitors, lipase inhibitors, fatty acid inhibitors and other treatments are highlighted, that with additional research and appropriate clinical trials, could prove useful in the treatment and management of thrombotic disease through amelioration of plasma Zn2+ dysregulation in high-risk individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10302
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2022


  • Drug treatment
  • Hypercoagulation
  • Metabolic disease
  • Non-esterified fatty acids
  • Thrombosis
  • Zinc


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