Brain iron acquisition depends on age and sex in iron-deficient mice

Kondaiah Palsa, Elizabeth B. Neely, Stephanie L. Baringer, Timothy B. Helmuth, Ian A. Simpson, James R. Connor

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Adequate and timely delivery of iron is essential for brain development. The uptake of transferrin-bound (Tf) iron into the brain peaks at the time of myelination, whereas the recently discovered H-ferritin (FTH1) transport of iron into the brain continues to increase beyond the peak in myelination. Here, we interrogate the impact of dietary iron deficiency (ID) on the uptake of FTH1- and Tf-bound iron. In the present study, we used C57BL/6J male and female mice at a developing (post-natal day (PND) 15) and adult age (PND 85). In developing mice, ID results in increased iron delivery from both FTH1 and Tf for both males and females. The amount of iron uptake from FTH1 was higher than the Tf and this difference between the iron delivery was much greater in females. In contrast, in the adult model, ID was associated with increased brain iron uptake by both FTH1 and Tf but only in the males. There was no increased uptake from either protein in the females. Moreover, transferrin receptor expression on the microvasculature as well as whole brain iron, and H and L ferritin levels revealed the male brains became iron deficient but not the female brains. Last, under normal dietary conditions, 55Fe uptake was higher in the developing group from both delivery proteins than in the adult group. These results indicate that there are differences in iron acquisition between the developing and adult brain for FTH1 and Tf during nutritional ID and demonstrate a level of regulation of brain iron uptake that is age and sex-dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere23331
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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