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Semin Hematol. 2009 Oct;46(4):358-70. doi: 10.1053/j.seminhematol.2009.06.005.

Mutations in the gene encoding DMT1: clinical presentation and treatment.

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CEINGE, Advanced Biotechnologies, Naples; and Department of Biochemistry and Medical Biotechnologies, University Federico II, Naples, Italy.


Divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) is the protein that allows elemental iron entry into the duodenal cell. It is expressed ubiquitously and it also allows the iron exit from the endosomes. This protein plays a central role in iron metabolism and it is strictly regulated. Several animal models elucidate its role in physiology. Recently three patients affected with DMT1 deficiency have been described. This recessively inherited condition appears at birth with severe microcytic anemia. Serum markers could be particularly useful to establish a correct diagnosis: high serum iron, normal total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), increased saturation of transferrin (Tf), slightly elevated ferritin, and increased soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR). Increased free erythrocyte protoporphyrins (FEPs) could address the diagnosis to iron-deficient anemia. All patients appeared to respond to erythropoietin (Epo) administration. Because mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) did not change during Epo treatment, it was concluded that Epo did not improve iron utilization of the erythroblasts but likely reduced the degree or intensity of apoptosis, affecting erythropoiesis. Moreover liver iron overload was present and documented in all of the affected patients. In this review we analyze the role of DMT1 in iron metabolism and the major causes of reduction and their consequences in animal models as well in humans, and we attempt to define the correct treatment for human mutants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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