Utilization of iron from an animal-based iron source is greater than that of ferrous sulfate in pregnant and nonpregnant women.
ABSTRACT: Heme iron absorption during pregnancy and the role of hepcidin in regulating dietary heme iron absorption remains largely unexplored. The objective of this research was to examine relative differences in heme (animal based) and nonheme (ferrous sulfate) iron utilization. This study was undertaken in 18 pregnant (ages 16-32 y; wk 32-35 of gestation) and 11 nonpregnant women (ages 18-27 y). Women were randomly assigned to receive both an animal-based heme meal (intrinsically labeled (58)Fe pork) and labeled ferrous sulfate ((57)Fe) fed on alternate days. Blood samples obtained 2 wk postdosing were used to assess iron status indicators and serum hepcidin and iron utilization based on RBC incorporation of iron isotopes. Heme iron utilization was significantly greater than nonheme iron utilization in the pregnant (47.7 ± 14.4 vs. 40.4 ± 13.2%) and nonpregnant women (50.1 ± 14.8 vs. 15.3 ± 9.7%). Among pregnant women, utilization of nonheme iron was associated with iron status, as assessed by the serum transferrin receptor concentration (P = 0.003; r(2) = 0.43). In contrast, heme iron utilization was not influenced by maternal iron status. In the group as a whole, women with undetectable serum hepcidin had greater nonheme iron utilization compared with women with detectable serum hepcidin (P = 0.02; n = 29); however, there were no significant differences in heme iron utilization. Our study suggests that iron utilization from an animal-based food provides a highly bioavailable source of dietary iron for pregnant and nonpregnant women that is not as sensitive to hepcidin concentrations or iron stores compared with ferrous sulfate.
Project description:Dietary heme contributes to iron intake, yet regulation of heme absorption and tissue utilization of absorbed heme remains undefined.In a rat model of iron overload, we used stable iron isotopes to examine heme- and nonheme-iron absorption in relation to liver hepcidin and to compare relative utilization of absorbed heme and nonheme iron by erythroid (RBC) and iron storage tissues (liver and spleen).Twelve male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to groups for injections of either saline or iron dextran (16 or 48 mg Fe over 2 wk). After iron loading, rats were administered oral stable iron in the forms of (57)Fe-ferrous sulfate and (58)Fe-labeled hemoglobin. Expression of liver hepcidin and duodenal iron transporters and tissue stable iron enrichment was determined 10 d postdosing.High iron loading increased hepatic hepcidin by 3-fold and reduced duodenal expression of divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) by 76%. Nonheme-iron absorption was 2.5 times higher than heme-iron absorption (P = 0.0008). Absorption of both forms of iron was inversely correlated with hepatic hepcidin expression (heme-iron absorption: r = -0.77, P = 0.003; nonheme-iron absorption: r = -0.80, P = 0.002), but hepcidin had a stronger impact on nonheme-iron absorption (P = 0.04). Significantly more (57)Fe was recovered in RBCs (P = 0.02), and more (58)Fe was recovered in the spleen (P = 0.01).Elevated hepcidin significantly decreased heme- and nonheme-iron absorption but had a greater impact on nonheme-iron absorption. Differential tissue utilization of heme vs. nonheme iron was evident between erythroid and iron storage tissues, suggesting that some heme may be exported into the circulation in a form different from that of nonheme iron.
Project description:The determinants of placental transport of dietary iron remain largely uncharacterized. The objective of this research was to elucidate determinants of fetal Fe transfer from maternally ingested dietary heme and non-heme Fe. The study was undertaken in 19 pregnant females (16-32 y) who ingested intrinsically labeled (58)Fe-heme and a nonheme Fe source ((57)FeSO(4)) during the third trimester of pregnancy. At delivery, maternal and cord blood was obtained to assess neonatal (57)Fe and (58)Fe enrichment as a function of maternal/neonatal Fe status [serum ferritin (SF), transferrin receptor, hemoglobin (Hb), total body Fe, and hepcidin]. There was a greater percentage of maternally absorbed (58)Fe tracer present in the neonates compared to the (57)Fe tracer (5.4 ± 2.4 vs. 4.0 ± 1.6; P < 0.0001). Net dietary nonheme Fe (mg) and heme Fe (mg) transferred to the fetus were both inversely correlated with measures of maternal serum hepcidin (P = 0.002, r(2) = 0.43; P = 0.004, r(2) = 0.39) and SF (P = 0.0008, r(2) = 0.49; P = 0.003, r(2) = 0.41) and directly associated with neonatal Hb (P = 0.004, r(2) = 0.39; P = 0.008, r(2) = 0.35). The results of this study suggest that during pregnancy there appears to be preferential fetal use of maternally ingested Fe derived from a dietary, animal-based heme source compared to Fe ingested as ferrous sulfate. Maternal serum hepcidin and maternal/neonatal Fe status may play a role in placental uptake of dietary heme and nonheme Fe.
Project description:The discovery of the ferroportin-hepcidin complex has led to a critical review on the treatment of anemia and anemia of inflammation (AI). Ferroportin, the only known mammalian iron exporter from cells to blood, is negatively regulated by hepcidin, a hormone peptide able to bind to ferroportin, leading to its degradation. Therefore, new efficient therapeutic interventions acting on hepcidin and ferroportin are imperative to manage anemia and AI. Bovine milk derivative lactoferrin (bLf), a glycoprotein able to chelate two ferric ions per molecule, is emerging as a natural anti-inflammatory substance able to modulate hepcidin and ferroportin synthesis through the down-regulation of interleukin-6 (IL-6). Here, an interventional study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01221844) was conducted by orally administering 100 mg of 20-30% iron-saturated bLf (corresponding to 70-84 ?g of elemental iron) twice a day. This treatment was compared with the Italian standard therapy, consisting in the oral administration of 329.7 mg of ferrous sulfate once a day (corresponding to 105 mg of elemental iron). Treatments were carried out on 29 anemic women with minor ?-thalassemia (20 pregnant and 9 non-pregnant), 149 women with hereditary thrombophilia (HT) (70 pregnant and 79 non-pregnant) affected by AI and 20 anemic pregnant women suffering from various pathologies. In anemic pregnant and non-pregnant women with minor ?-thalassemia, presenting undetectable hepcidin levels, differently from ferrous sulfate management, bLf decreased IL-6 (from 25 ± 8 to 6 ± 3 pg/ml) and increased total serum iron (TSI) (from 54 ± 17 to 80 ± 9 ?g/dl). BLf was also more efficient than ferrous sulfate in AI treatment in HT pregnant and non-pregnant women by decreasing both serum IL-6 (from 89 ± 8 to 58 ± 6 pg/ml) and hepcidin (from 115 ± 23 to 65 ± 10 ng/ml), thus increasing hematological parameters, such as the number of red blood cells (RBCs), the concentration of hemoglobin, TSI and serum ferritin. BLf was also efficient in treating anemia in other pathological pregnancies. Taken together all the results, bLf, showing a greater benefit and efficacy than the standard ferrous sulfate management, can be considered as a promising compound in treating anemia and AI through its ability to down-regulate IL-6, thus restoring ferroportin-mediated iron export from cells to blood in a hepcidin-dependent or independent way.
Project description:During pregnancy, iron requirements are increased to support maternal erythropoietic expansion and fetal growth and development. To meet these requirements, dietary iron absorption increases, and available iron stores are mobilized. These adjustments are thought to be in large part mediated by the iron-regulatory hormone hepcidin, which controls the concentrations of ferroportin, the sole exporter of iron into the extracellular fluid and blood plasma. Hepcidin regulation of iron availability during healthy and abnormal pregnancies is not well understood. In our cross-sectional study, we compared hepcidin, iron and hematological parameters between nonpregnant control women, healthy pregnant women in the first and second trimester, and women with spontaneous abortion in the first trimester. We found that in healthy pregnancy, hepcidin increased in the first trimester compared with nonpregnant women, but then decreased during the second trimester. The second trimester hepcidin levels decreased despite stable serum iron concentrations, suggesting active suppression of hepcidin, presumably to enhance iron availability as iron demand increases. In women with spontaneous abortion during the first trimester, hepcidin, serum iron, and ferritin concentrations were all increased compared with the first trimester healthy pregnancy. Although the specific mechanisms remain to be determined, our findings demonstrate that maternal hepcidin is regulated by signals related to the progression of pregnancy, and that pregnancy loss is associated with profound changes in maternal iron metabolism. These observations highlight the existence of fetoplacental signals that modulate maternal iron homeostasis.
Project description:Nonheme food ferritin (FTN) iron minerals, nonheme iron complexes, and heme iron contribute to the balance between food iron absorption and body iron homeostasis. Iron absorption depends on membrane transporter proteins DMT1, PCP/HCP1, ferroportin (FPN), TRF2, and matriptase 2. Mutations in DMT1 and matriptase-2 cause iron deficiency; mutations in FPN, HFE, and TRF2 cause iron excess. Intracellular iron homeostasis depends on coordinated regulation of iron trafficking and storage proteins encoded in iron responsive element (IRE)-mRNA. The noncoding IRE-mRNA structures bind protein repressors, IRP1 or 2, during iron deficiency. Integration of the IRE-RNA in translation regulators (near the cap) or turnover elements (after the coding region) increases iron uptake (DMT1/TRF1) or decreases iron storage/efflux (FTN/FPN) when IRP binds. An antioxidant response element in FTN DNA binds Bach1, a heme-sensitive transcription factor that coordinates expression among antioxidant response proteins like FTN, thioredoxin reductase, and quinone reductase. FTN, an antioxidant because Fe(2+) and O(2) (reactive oxygen species generators) are consumed to make iron mineral, is also a nutritional iron concentrate that is an efficiently absorbed, nonheme source of iron from whole legumes. FTN protein cages contain thousands of mineralized iron atoms and enter cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis, an absorption mechanism distinct from transport of nonheme iron salts (ferrous sulfate), iron chelators (ferric-EDTA), or heme. Recognition of 2 nutritional nonheme iron sources, small and large (FTN), will aid the solution of iron deficiency, a major public health problem, and the development of new policies on iron nutrition.
Project description:LDL receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) is a transmembrane receptor highly expressed in human placenta. It was recently found to be the receptor for heme and its plasma-binding protein hemopexin (Hx) and is integral to systemic heme clearance. Little is known about systemic concentrations of Hx during pregnancy and whether maternal Hx and placental LRP1 contributes to fetal iron (Fe) homeostasis during pregnancy. We hypothesized that placental LRP1 would be upregulated in maternal/neonatal Fe insufficiency and would be related to maternal circulating Hx. Placental LRP1 expression was assessed in 57 pregnant adolescents (14-18 years) in relationship with maternal and cord blood Fe status indicators (hemoglobin (Hb), serum ferritin, transferrin receptor), the Fe regulatory hormone hepcidin and serum Hx. Hx at mid-gestation correlated positively with Hb at mid-gestation (r=0.35, P=0.02) and Hx at delivery correlated positively with cord hepcidin (r=0.37, P=0.005). Placental LRP1 protein expression was significantly higher in women who exhibited greater decreases in serum Hx from mid-gestation to term (r=0.28, P=0.04). Significant associations were also found between placental LRP1 protein with cord hepcidin (r=-0.29, P=0.03) and placental heme exporter feline leukemia virus C receptor 1 (r=0.34, P=0.03). Our data are consistent with a role for placental heme Fe utilization in supporting fetal Fe demands.
Project description:The detection of iron deficiency anemia is challenged by the paucity of diagnostic tests demonstrating high sensitivity and specificity. Using two biomarkers, zinc-protoporphyrin/heme and hepcidin, we established the diagnostic cut-off values for iron deficiency anemia in preschool children and women. We randomly selected non-anemic individuals (n=190; women=90, children=100) and individuals with iron deficiency anemia (n=200; women=100, children=100) from a preexisting cohort of healthy preschool children and their mothers. The diagnostic performance of these biomarkers was estimated by analyzing receiver operating characteristic curves. Diagnostic cut-offs with a high predictive value for iron deficiency anemia were selected. Median zinc-protoporphyrin/heme and hepcidin values in non-anemic children were 49 μmol/mol heme and 42 ng/mL, respectively, and in non-anemic women these values were 66 μmol/mol heme and 17.7ng/mL, respectively. Children and women with iron deficiency anemia had higher zinc-protoporphyrin/heme ratios (children=151 μmol/mol heme and women=155 μmol/mol heme) and lower hepcidin levels (children=1.2ng/mL and women=0.6ng/mL). A zinc-protoporphyrin/heme ratio cut-off >90 μmole/mole heme in children and >107 μmole/mole heme in women was associated with a high diagnostic likelihood for iron deficiency anemia (children, likelihood ratio=20.2: women, likelihood ratio=10.8). Hepcidin cut-off values of ≤6.8ng/mL in children and ≤4.5ng/mL in women were associated with a high diagnostic likelihood for iron deficiency anemia (children, likelihood ratio=14.3: women, likelihood ratio=16.2). The reference ranges and cut-off values identified in this study provide clinicians with guidance for applying these tests to detect iron deficiency anemia. Erythrocyte zinc-protoporphyrin/heme ratio is a valid point-of-care biomarker to diagnose iron deficiency anemia.
Project description:Ferritin iron from food is readily bioavailable to humans and has the potential for treating iron deficiency. Whether ferritin iron absorption is mechanistically different from iron absorption from small iron complexes/salts remains controversial. Here, we studied iron absorption (RBC (59)Fe) from radiolabeled ferritin iron (0.5 mg) in healthy women with or without non-ferritin iron competitors, ferrous sulfate, or hemoglobin. A 9-fold excess of non-ferritin iron competitor had no significant effect on ferritin iron absorption. Larger amounts of iron (50 mg and a 99-fold excess of either competitor) inhibited iron absorption. To measure transport rates of iron that was absorbed inside ferritin, rat intestinal segments ex vivo were perfused with radiolabeled ferritin and compared to perfusion with ferric nitrilotriacetic (Fe-NTA), a well-studied form of chelated iron. Intestinal transport of iron absorbed inside exogenous ferritin was 14.8% of the rate measured for iron absorbed from chelated iron. In the steady state, endogenous enterocyte ferritin contained >90% of the iron absorbed from Fe-NTA or ferritin. We found that ferritin is a slow release source of iron, readily available to humans or animals, based on RBC iron incorporation. Ferritin iron is absorbed by a different mechanism than iron salts/chelates or heme iron. Recognition of a second, nonheme iron absorption process, ferritin endocytosis, emphasizes the need for more mechanistic studies on ferritin iron absorption and highlights the potential of ferritin present in foods such as legumes to contribute to solutions for global iron deficiency.
Project description:Divalent metal-ion transporter-1 (DMT1) is a widely expressed iron-preferring membrane-transport protein that serves a critical role in erythroid iron utilization. We have investigated its role in intestinal metal absorption by studying a mouse model lacking intestinal DMT1 (i.e., DMT1(int/int)). DMT1(int/int) mice exhibited a profound hypochromic-microcytic anemia, splenomegaly, and cardiomegaly. That the anemia was due to iron deficiency was demonstrated by the following observations in DMT1(int/int) mice: 1) blood iron and tissue nonheme-iron stores were depleted; 2) mRNA expression of liver hepcidin (Hamp1) was depressed; and 3) intraperitoneal iron injection corrected the anemia, and reversed the changes in blood iron, nonheme-iron stores, and hepcidin expression levels. We observed decreased total iron content in multiple tissues from DMT1(int/int) mice compared with DMT1(+/+) mice but no meaningful change in copper, manganese, or zinc. DMT1(int/int) mice absorbed (64)Cu and (54)Mn from an intragastric dose to the same extent as did DMT1(+/+) mice but the absorption of (59)Fe was virtually abolished in DMT1(int/int) mice. This study reveals a critical function for DMT1 in intestinal nonheme-iron absorption for normal growth and development. Further, this work demonstrates that intestinal DMT1 is not required for the intestinal transport of copper, manganese, or zinc.
Project description:Transferrin receptor-2 (TFR2) regulates hepatic hepcidin secretion and when mutated causes type-3 hemochromatosis. No functional study is available in humans. We studied a 47 year-old woman with hemochromatosis. TFR2 DNA and its hepatic transcript were directly sequenced. Hepatic expression of hepcidin and other iron-related genes were measured by qRT-PCR. Urinary hepcidin was measured at baseline and after an oral iron challenge (ferrous sulfate, 65 mg) by SELDI-TOF-MS. A novel homozygous TFR2 mutation was identified in the splicing donor site of intron 4 (c.614+4 A>G) causing exon 4 skipping. Hepcidin and hemojuvelin expression were markedly reduced. Urinary hepcidin was lower than normal and further decreased after iron challenge. This is the first description of iron-related gene expression profiles in a TFR2 mutated patient. The decreased hepatic and urinary expression of hepcidin and lack of acute response to iron challenge confirms the primary role of TFR2 in iron homeostasis.