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Dose-related effects of dietary iron supplementation in producing hepatic iron overload in rats

Plummer, J.L.; MacKinnon, M.; Cmielewski, P.L.; Williams, P.; Ahern, M.J.; Ilsley, A.H.; de la M Hall, P.

Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 12(12): 839-842

1997


ISSN/ISBN: 0815-9319
PMID: 9504895
DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.1997.tb00381.x
Accession: 045832132

The influence of varying the level of supplemental dietary iron on the development of hepatic iron overload was examined in rats. Two days after giving birth, Porton rats were fed a diet supplemented with 0, 0.5, 1 or 2% carbonyl iron, to institute dietary iron supplementation to the young via breast milk. After weaning, the offspring continued to receive the assigned diet until 32 weeks of age. Liver biopsies were taken from some rats at 8, 16 and 24 weeks of age and from all rats at 32 weeks of age, for assessment of iron overload. For both male and female rats, hepatic iron content was increased in a dose-related manner by feeding supplemented diet. Hepatic iron content of male rats tended to reach a plateau after 8, 16 weeks of supplementation, while that of female rats continued to rise throughout the experimental period, such that the hepatic iron content of female rats was 2.8-fold that of similarly treated males at 32 weeks of age. Iron supplementation was associated with only moderate retardation of growth. By choosing an appropriate level of iron supplementation, good (grade III-IV) hepatic iron loading can be achieved with minimal adverse effects on the animals' overall health.

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