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Aquat Toxicol. 2006 Aug 23;79(2):167-75. Epub 2006 Jul 17.

The effects of dietary iron concentration on gastrointestinal and branchial assimilation of both iron and cadmium in zebrafish (Danio rerio).

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Division of Health and Life Sciences, King's College London, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NN, UK.


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) were fed either a diet containing 33mgFekg(-1) (low) or 95mgFekg(-1) (normal) for 10 weeks, after which short-term Cd and Fe uptake by the gastrointestinal tract and gill was assessed. Carcass metal content and transcript levels of the iron importer, Divalent Metal Transporter 1 (DMT1) and an iron exporter, ferroportin1, in both the gastrointestinal tract and gill were also measured. Fish fed the low Fe diet accumulated 13 times more Cd into their livers via the gastrointestinal tract than those fed the normal Fe diet. However, no significant increase in liver Fe accumulation was measured. Concomitantly, when exposed to 48nmolCdL(-1) fish fed the low Fe diet exhibited a approximately 4-fold increase in Cd accumulation on the gill and in the liver, compared to those fed a normal diet. In addition, fish fed the low Fe diet also significantly accumulated more Fe on the gill (nine-fold increase) and into the carcass (four-fold increase) when exposed to 96nmolFeL(-1), compared to fish fed a normal diet. Surprisingly, carcass Fe, Ca and Mg concentrations were increased in fish fed the low Fe diet, which suggests that Fe body levels may not be a good indicator of whether a fish is more or less susceptible to increased non-essential metal accumulation via an Fe uptake pathway. However, significantly elevated transcript levels of DMT1 and ferroportin1 (2.7- and 3.8-fold induction, respectively) were seen in the gastrointestinal tract, and DMT1 in the gills (1.8-fold induction) of zebrafish fed a low Fe diet. The correlation between Cd uptake and DMT1 expression suggests that one route of uptake of Cd, either from the diet or from the water, could be via DMT1.

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