Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Infect Immun. 2006 Jan;74(1):289-95.

Dietary iron content mediates hookworm pathogenesis in vivo.

Author information

Program in International Child Health, Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Hookworm infection is associated with growth delay and iron deficiency anemia in developing countries. A series of experiments were designed in order to test the hypothesis that host dietary iron restriction mediates susceptibility to hookworm infection using the hamster model of Ancylostoma ceylanicum. Animals were maintained on diets containing either 10 ppm iron (iron restricted) or 200 ppm iron (standard/high iron), followed by infection with A. ceylanicum third-stage larvae. Infected animals fed the standard diet exhibited statistically significant growth delay and reduced blood hemoglobin levels compared to uninfected controls on day 20 postinfection. In contrast, no statistically significant differences in weight or hemoglobin concentration were observed between infected and uninfected animals fed the iron-restricted diet. Moreover, iron-restricted animals were observed to have reduced intestinal worm burdens on day 10 and day 20 postinfection compared to those of animals maintained on the standard/high-iron diet. In a subsequent study, animals equilibrated on diets containing a range of iron levels (10 ppm, 40 ppm, 100 ppm, or 200 ppm) were infected with A. ceylanicum and followed for evidence of hookworm disease. Infected animals from the intermediate-dietary iron (40- and 100-ppm) groups exhibited greater weight loss and anemia than those in the low (10-ppm)- or high (200-ppm)-iron diet groups. Mortality was also significantly higher in the intermediate-dietary-iron groups. These data suggest that severe dietary iron restriction impairs hookworm development in vivo but that moderate iron restriction enhances host susceptibility to severe disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center