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Neurosci Lett. 1999 Mar 12;262(3):183-6.

Increased expression of transferrin receptors and iron in amoeboid microglial cells in postnatal rats following an exposure to hypoxia.

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Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Kent Ridge.


This study was aimed to ascertain the effects of hypoxia on regulation of iron in the brain of newborn rats. At 3 h and 1 day after hypoxic exposure transferrin receptor expression as detected immunohistochemically with the antibody OX-26, and the iron content as shown by Perls' staining of amoeboid microglial cells was markedly increased. The induced changes, however, were not evident at 10 min and in longer surviving rats killed at 3 and 7 days. It is suggested that the upregulation of transferrin receptor expression coupled with iron uptake by amoeboid microglial cells in the periventricular regions is a protective mechanism to facilitate the sequestration of excess iron that may have been released either from the iron-rich oligodendrocytes, or accumulated due to a disruption of its normal transportation following the hypoxic insult. This would help protect the brain from harmful effects of iron.

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