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J Nutr. 1997 Dec;127(12):2282-8.

In vivo dopamine metabolism is altered in iron-deficient anemic rats.

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Department of Nutrition, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Previous studies of dopamine metabolism in iron-deficient rats demonstrated an elevation in extraneuronal levels of dopamine and a depression in the number of dopamine D2 receptors; however, the importance of anemia per se and the reversibility of these observations are not completely resolved. The purpose of this study was to determine if in vivo reuptake of caudate dopamine is altered by iron deficiency anemia, if it is reversible with iron therapy, and if anemia per se produced the same effects on dopamine metabolism. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (21-d old) were fed an iron-deficient diet (4 mg Fe/kg diet) and then iron repleted (5 mg iron dextran), or were fed an iron adequate diet (35 mg Fe/kg diet) and then given phenylhydrazine to induce hemolytic anemia. In vivo microdialysis was performed in steady-state conditions both before and after iron or no therapy and was followed by an intraperitoneal injection of a dopamine reuptake blocker (cocaine-HCl 30 mg/kg). Thirty percent higher extracellular dopamine levels in the caudate-putamen were observed in iron-deficient rats compared with control rats, but no differences were observed in tissue levels. Hemolytic anemic and iron-repleted rats had normal extracellular dopamine levels. The response to dopamine reuptake blockade was significantly attenuated in iron-deficient rats compared with control, iron-repleted, or hemolytic anemic rats. These experiments provide evidence that iron deficiency blunts the dopamine reuptake mechanism, that this is a reversible process in postweaning rats, and that anemia per se does not cause the increased extracellular dopamine levels.

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