Magnesium and Embryonic Development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Magnesium (Mg2+) is the second most abundant cellular cation and is essential for all stages of life from the early embryo to adult. Mg2+ deficiency causes or contributes to many human diseases, including migraine headaches, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, hypotension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cardiac arrhythmias. Although the concentration of Mg2+ in the extracellular environment can vary significantly, the total intracellular Mg2+ concentration is actively maintained within a relatively narrow range (14-20mM) via tight, yet poorly understood, regulation of intracellular Mg2+ by Mg2+ transporters and Mg2+-permeant ion channels. Studies have continued to add to the growing number of Mg2+ transporters and ion channels involved in Mg2+ homeostasis, including TRPM6 and TRPM7, members of the transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channel family. Mutations in TRPM6, including amino acid substitutions that prevent its heterooligomerization with TRPM7, occur in the rare autosomal-recessive disease hypomagnesemia with secondary hypocalcemia (HSH). Genetic ablation of either gene in mice results in early embryonic lethality. However, it is the fact that gastrulation and neural fold closure defects caused by depletion of TRPM7 in Xenopus laevis can be rescued Mg2+ and the Mg2+-transporter SLC41A2 that has raised the question of whether these channels' capacity to mediate Mg2+ influx plays an important role in embryonic development. Here we review what is known of the function of Mg2+ and Mg2+-permeable transporters and channels in early development and summarize findings regarding their functions during embryogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMolecular, Genetic, and Nutritional Aspects of Major and Trace Minerals
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780128023761
ISBN (Print)9780128021682
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


  • Embryonic development
  • Gastrulation
  • Ion channel
  • Magnesium
  • Neural fold closure
  • Transporter


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