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Cell Biochem Funct. 2013 Dec;31(8):685-91. doi: 10.1002/cbf.2956. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 -induced intestinal calcium transport is impaired in β-globin knockout thalassemic mice.

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Center of Calcium and Bone Research (COCAB), Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Besides being a common haematological disorder caused by a reduction in β-globin production, β-thalassemia has been reported to impair body calcium homeostasis, leading to massive bone loss and increased fracture risk. Here, we demonstrated that heterozygous β-globin knockout thalassemic mice had a lower rate of duodenal calcium absorption compared with the wild-type littermates, whereas the epithelial electrical parameters, including transepithelial resistance, were not affected, suggesting no change in the epithelial integrity and permeability. Daily subcutaneous injection of 1 µg kg(-1) 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2 D3 ] for 3 days enhanced the duodenal calcium absorption in wild-type, but not in thalassemic mice. Although β-thalassemia increased the mRNA level of divalent metal transporter-1, an iron transporter in the duodenum, it had no effect on the transcripts of ferroportin-1 or the principal calcium transporters. In conclusion, β-thalassemia impaired the 1,25(OH)2 D3 -dependent intestinal calcium absorption at the post-transcriptional level, which, in turn, contributed to the dysregulation of body calcium metabolism and β-thalassemia-induced osteopenia.


Ussing chamber; divalent metal transporter (DMT)-1; duodenum; thalassemia; vitamin D

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