Iron deficiency (ID) remains a public health concern affecting ~25% of the world's population. Metabolic consequences of ID include elevated plasma glucose concentrations consistent with increased reliance on glucose as a metabolic substrate, though the mechanisms controlling these responses remain unclear. To further characterize the metabolic response to ID, weanling male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed either a control (C; 40 mg Fe/kg diet) or iron-deficient (ID; 3 mg Fe/kg diet) diet or were pair-fed (PF) the C diet to the level of intake of the ID group for 21 days. In addition to reductions in hemoglobin, hematocrit, and plasma iron, the ID group also exhibited higher percent body fat and plasma triglycerides compared to the PF group. Steady-state levels of both plasma glucose and insulin increased 40 and 45%, respectively, in the ID group compared to the PF group. Plasma cortisol levels were decreased 67% in the ID group compared to the PF diet group. The systematic evaluation of the expression of genes involved in insulin signaling, glucose metabolism, and fatty acid metabolism in the liver and skeletal muscle revealed significant alterations in the expression of 48 and 52 genes in these tissues, respectively. A significant concurrent increase in lipogenic gene expression and decrease in gene expression related to β-oxidation in both the liver and skeletal muscle, in combination with differential tissue expression of genes involved in glucose metabolism, provides novel insight into the adaptive metabolic response in rodent models of severe iron deficiency anemia.
Davis MR, Rendina E, Peterson SK, Lucas EA, Smith BJ, Clarke SL. Enhanced expression of lipogenic genes may contribute to hyperglycemia and alterations in plasma lipids in response to dietary iron deficiency. Genes Nutr. 2012 January Department of Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 301 Human Sciences, Stillwater, OK, 74078, USA.