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Free Radic Biol Med. 1998 Oct;25(6):660-5.

Iron-deficient intestine is more susceptible to peroxidative damage during iron supplementation in rats.

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Department of Biophysics, National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR), Hyderabad, India.


Redox-active forms of iron are known to catalyze free radical mediated peroxidative reactions. There is scanty information on such effects at the sites of iron absorption. This was tested in iron-deficient WKY female rats supplemented for 15 days with FeSO4 equivalent to 8 mg of iron (D+) and compared with iron deficient (D) and iron adequate (C) rats. The levels of intestinal MDA and protein carbonyls and the activities of various antioxidant enzymes were estimated. As markers of functional integrity, the activities of alkaline phosphatase and Lys-Ala-dipeptidyl aminopeptidase were evaluated. In addition, we measured the concentrations of ferritin, transferrin, and ceruloplasmin levels in serum and in intestinal mucosa. It was observed that correction of iron deficiency resulted in significant increase in MDA and protein carbonyl formation. Activities of both alkaline phosphatase and Lys-Ala-dipeptidyl aminopeptidase were significantly decreased in D+ compared to C. The increase in catalase and decrease in Gpx was found to be sensitive to iron administration. Neither iron deficiency nor its correction had any effect on the activity of SOD and GSH levels. Iron supplementation has resulted in decreased mobilization of stored iron as reflected by increased mucosal ferritin level and decreased serum ceruloplasmin ferroxidase activity contributing to greater peroxidative stress in the intestine. These results suggest that iron-deficient intestine of rat is more susceptible to iron-mediated peroxidative damage and functional impairment during correction of deficiency with iron.

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