Transferrin response in normal and iron-deficient mice heterozygotic for hypotransferrinemia; Effects on iron and manganese accumulation

Elise A. Malecki, Attila G. Devenyi, John L. Beard, James R. Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Hypotransferrinemia is a genetic defect in mice resulting in < 1% of normal plasma transferrin (Tf) concentrations; heterozygotes for this mutation (+/hpx) have low circulating Tf concentrations. These mice provide a unique opportunity to examine the developmental pattern and response of Tf to iron-deficient diets, and furthermore, to address the controversial role of Tf in Mn transport. Twenty-three weanling +/hpx mice and forty-five wild-type BALB/cJ mice were either killed at weaning or fed diets containing either 13 or 72 mg kg-1 Fe, and killed after four or eight weeks. Plasma Tf concentrations were lower in +/hpx mice, plasma Tf nearly doubled and liver Tf was only 50% of normal in response to iron deficiency. Brain iron concentration did not correlate significantly with either plasma Tf or TIBC. However, iron accumulation into brain continued with iron deficiency whereas most other organs had less iron. These results imply that either there is a selected targeting of iron to the brain by plasma Tf or there is an alternative iron delivery system to the brain. Furthermore, we observed no differences in tissue distribution of 54Mn despite the differences in circulating Tf concentrations and body iron stores; this suggests that there are non-Tf dependent mechanisms for Mn transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-276
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2 1998


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Metals and Alloys

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