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Biomed Environ Sci. 2013 Oct;26(10):808-19. doi: 10.3967/bes2013.004.

Quantitative study of iron metabolism-related genes expression in rat.

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Department of Public Health, College of Medicine, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710061, Shaanxi, China.



To investigate the multiple iron metabolism-related genes expression, its regulation by iron and the expression correlation among the genes in rat tissues.


Two groups (n=30) of Sprague-Dawley female weanling rats were fed with a control diet and an iron deficient diet respectively for 4 weeks. All rats were then sacrificed, and blood and tissue samples were collected. The routine blood examination was performed with a veterinary automatic blood cell analyzer. Elemental iron levels in liver, spleen and serum were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The mRNA expression of genes was detected by real-time fluorescence quantitative PCR.


After 4 weeks, the hemoglobin (Hb) level and red blood cell (RBC) count were significantly lower in the iron deficient group compared with those in the control group. The iron levels in liver, spleen and serum in the iron deficient group were significantly lower than those in the control group. In reference to small intestine, the relative expression of each iron-related gene varied in the different tissues. Under the iron deficiency, the expression of these genes changed in a tissue-specific manner. The expression of most of the genes significantly correlated in intestine, spleen and lung, but few correlated in liver, heart and kidney.


Findings from our study provides new understandings about the relative expression, regulation by iron and correlation among the mRNA expressions of transferrin receptors 1 and 2, divalent metal transporter 1, ferritin, iron regulation proteins 1 and 2, hereditary hemochromatosis protein, hepcidin, ferroportin 1 and hephaestin in intestine, liver, spleen, kidney, heart, and lung of rat.


Dmt1; Ferroportin 1; Hepcidin; Hephaestin; Iron; Tfr

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