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Biometals. 2005 Aug;18(4):339-48.

Mechanisms of haem and non-haem iron absorption: lessons from inherited disorders of iron metabolism.

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Iron Metabolism Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, PO Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane, Australia.


Our current state of knowledge of the mechanism and regulation of intestinal iron absorption has been critically dependent on the analysis of inherited disorders of iron homeostasis in both humans and other animal species. Mutations in DMT1 and Ireg1 have revealed that these molecules are major mediators of iron transport across the brush border and basolateral membranes of the enterocyte, respectively. Similarly, the iron oxidase hephaestin has been shown to play an important role in basolateral iron efflux. The analysis of a range of human iron loading disorders has provided very strong evidence that the products of the HFE, TfR2, hepcidin and hemojuvelin genes comprise integral components of the machinery that regulates iron absorption and iron traffic around the body. Engineered mouse strains have already proved very effective in helping to dissect pathways of iron homeostasis, and in the future they will continue to provide important insights into the absorption of both inorganic and haem iron by the gut.

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