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FEBS Lett. 2004 Aug 27;573(1-3):195-201.

Tumour necrosis factor alpha regulates iron transport and transporter expression in human intestinal epithelial cells.

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School of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK.


TNFalpha has dramatic effects on iron metabolism contributing to the generation of hypoferraemia in the anaemia of chronic disease. Interestingly, TNFalpha is also synthesised and released within the intestinal mucosa, suggesting that this pro-inflammatory cytokine may play a role in regulating dietary iron absorption. To investigate this possibility, we stimulated intestinal Caco-2 cells with TNFalpha (10 ng/ml). In TNFalpha-treated cells, apical iron uptake was significantly decreased and this was accompanied by a reduction in divalent metal transporter protein and mRNA expression. Our data suggest that TNFalpha could regulate dietary iron absorption and that the apical transport machinery is the target for these actions.

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