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Metabolism. 1991 Jan;40(1):105-9.

The severity of copper deficiency can be ameliorated by deferoxamine.

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Vitamin and Mineral and Carbohydrate Nutrition Laboratories, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, US Department of Agriculture, MD 20705.


The present study was undertaken in order to determine whether hepatic iron overload plays a role in the exacerbation of copper deficiency. Weanling male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a copper-deficient (0.6 microgram Cu/g) diet containing 62% fructose for 5 weeks. Some of the copper-deficient rats were injected daily with deferoxamine (DFX), an iron chelator that has been widely used to reduce iron overload. DFX reduced hepatic iron concentrations, which in turn ameliorated the pathology of copper deficiency when compared with nontreated copper-deficient animals. It is suggested that hepatic iron overload in a reduced environment plays a major role in the exacerbation of copper deficiency. Once the concentration of hepatic iron is reduced, the severity of the deficiency should be improved.

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