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J Neural Transm Suppl. 2006;(71):173-96.

Acute and chronic effects of developmental iron deficiency on mRNA expression patterns in the brain.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, M.S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, USA.


Because of the multiple biochemical pathways that require iron, iron deficiency can impact brain metabolism in many ways. The goal of this study was to identify a molecular footprint associated with ongoing versus long term consequences of iron deficiency using microarray analysis. Rats were born to iron-deficient mothers, and were analyzed at two different ages: 21 days, while weaning and iron-deficient; and six months, after a five month iron-sufficient recovery period. Overall, the data indicate that ongoing iron deficiency impacts multiple pathways, whereas the long term consequences of iron deficiency on gene expression are more limited. These data suggest that the gene array profiles obtained at postnatal day 21 reflect a brain under development in a metabolically compromised setting that given appropriate intervention is mostly correctable. There are, however, long term consequences to the developmental iron deficiency that could underlie the neurological deficits reported for iron deficiency.

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