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Erratum published on 10 April 2018, see Nutrients 2018, 10(4), 467.
Open AccessArticle

Long-Term Dexamethasone Exposure Down-Regulates Hepatic TFR1 and Reduces Liver Iron Concentration in Rats

Key Laboratory of Animal Physiology and Biochemistry, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2017, 9(6), 617;
Received: 12 April 2017 / Revised: 7 June 2017 / Accepted: 8 June 2017 / Published: 17 June 2017
Exposure to stress is known to cause hepatic iron dysregulation, but the relationship between prolonged stress and liver iron metabolism is not yet fully understood. Thirty 13-week-old female Sprague–Dawley rats were randomly divided into two groups, as follows: the control group (saline-injection) and the dexamethasone group (Dexamethasone (Dex)-injection 0.1 mg/kg/day). After the 21-day stress trial, the results showed that chronic Dex administration not only impaired serum corticosterone (p = 0.00) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) (p = 0.01) levels, but also decreased white blood cell counts (p = 0.00), and reduced blood lymphocyte counts (p = 0.00). The daily Dex-injection also significantly reduced body weight (p < 0.01) by inhibiting food intake. Consecutive Dex administration resulted in decreased iron intake (p = 0.00), enhanced serum iron levels (p = 0.01), and increased the serum souble transferrin receptor (sTfR) content (p = 0.00) in rats. Meanwhile, long-term Dex exposure down-regulated duodenal cytochrome b (DCYTB) (p = 0.00) and the divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) (p = 0.04) protein expression, but up-regulated ferroportin (FPN) protein expression (p = 0.04). Chronic Dex administration reduced liver iron concentration (p = 0.02) in rats. Hepatic transferrin receptor 1 (TFR1) expression was lowered at the protein level (p = 0.03), yet with uncoupled mRNA abundance in Dex-treated rats. Enhanced iron-regulatory protein (IRP)/iron-responsive element (IRE) binding activity was observed, but did not line up with lowered hepatic TFR1 protein expression. This study indicates that long-term Dex exposure reduces liver iron content, which is closely associated with down-regulated hepatic TFR1 protein expression. View Full-Text
Keywords: dexamethasone; liver iron content; TFR1; rat dexamethasone; liver iron content; TFR1; rat
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Li, H.; Jiang, S.; Yang, C.; Yang, S.; He, B.; Ma, W.; Zhao, R. Long-Term Dexamethasone Exposure Down-Regulates Hepatic TFR1 and Reduces Liver Iron Concentration in Rats. Nutrients 2017, 9, 617.

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