Diabetes mellitus is associated with a significant reduction in the serum concentration of Mg2+. Several studies have suggested that hypomagnesemia may be implicated in the etiology of diabetic complications; however, no mechanism has been proposed. This study demonstrates that Mg2+ is a positive effector of inositol transport and is capable of promoting a 2.5-fold increase in the affinity of the transporter for inositol. Analysis of the kinetics of inositol transport shows that, at physiological concentrations of inositol, the reductions in Mg2+ concentrations that occur in diabetic patients would result in a significant decline in the rate of inositol transport (1.5- to 2-fold). We suggest that hypomagnesemia may be linked to the development of diabetic complications via reduction in the rate of inositol transport and subsequent intracellular inositol depletion. This assertion allows hypomagnesemia and the polyol theory to be unified into one mechanistic model for the development of diabetic complications.

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