The aim of the study was to determine if the expression of zinc transporters in the mouse placenta is regulated by dietary zinc, commensurate with regulating the supply of zinc to the fetus. Mice were fed diets differing only in the concentration of zinc (moderately zinc-restricted (ZnR) - 15 mg Zn/kg; zinc-adequate (ZnA) - 50 mg Zn/kg; zinc-supplemented (ZnS) - 150 mg Zn/kg) from the onset of pregnancy until collection of tissue at day 17. Compared with mice fed the other diets, fetal weight was reduced in the ZnR group and total non-embryonic weight gain was reduced in mice fed the ZnS diet. Transcript levels of metallothionein and the zinc transporters ZnT1, ZnT4 and ZIP1 were reduced in the placenta of mice fed both the ZnR and ZnS diets compared with mice fed the ZnA diet. Placental ZnT7 and fetal liver metallothionein transcript levels did not differ significantly between mice fed the three diets and placental ZnT5 was reduced in mice fed the ZnS compared with the ZnA diet but did not differ significantly between the ZnA and ZnR diets. The pattern of mRNA expression in placenta was reflected at the protein level for ZnT1. Levels of ZnT5 protein were also highest in mice fed the ZnA diet. Both ZnT1 and ZnT5 were detected in the human villous syncytiotrophoblast by immunohistochemistry. The data indicate that the expression of zinc transporters in mouse placenta is responsive to dietary zinc supply but this modulation of expression is insufficient to maintain optimum fetal nutrition at even a modest level of dietary zinc restriction.