Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientist Discovers Novel Iron-copper Alliance

Date:
July 30, 2007
Source:
University at Buffalo
Summary:
Iron is the workhorse of trace minerals. Life cannot be sustained without it. In novel research, investigators have learned that iron is only one half of an all-important duo of trace minerals -- the other being copper -- that work in tandem to maintain proper iron balance, or homeostasis.

Iron is the workhorse of trace minerals. An essential component of red blood cells, disruption of iron levels in the body will result in a myriad of serious conditions, and life cannot be sustained without it.

In novel research, investigators at the University at Buffalo's School of Public Health and Health Professions, have learned that iron is only one half of an all-important duo of trace minerals -- the other being copper -- that work in tandem to maintain proper iron balance, or homeostasis.

It appears the workhorse has a helper.

James F. Collins, Ph.D., UB assistant professor of exercise and nutrition sciences and biochemistry, discovered that when iron-absorption by cells lining the small intestine decreases during iron-deficient states, copper absorption increases.

Collins now is exploring the relationship between these two trace minerals through a $1.38 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

The work will be carried out using established models of intestinal iron absorption in humans, including iron and iron/copper-deficient rodents and cultured intestinal epithelial cells.

"This project is intended to test the overall hypothesis that increased copper transport during iron-deficiency is critical to enhance certain aspects of intestinal iron absorption," said Collins.

"Iron or copper deficiency causes anemia, and abnormal intestinal iron transport is associated with several common human pathologies, including anemia of chronic disease (ACD) and hereditary hemochromatosis (HH), different forms of which result from several common genetic defects."

HH is an inherited metabolic disorder characterized by abnormally high absorption of dietary iron, which is deposited in body tissues and organs, where it may become toxic. ACD is a blood disorder caused by low body iron levels resulting from any medical condition that affects the production and lifespan of red blood cells, such as chronic infection, chronic immune activation resulting in inflammation, or malignancy.

"In collaboration with Dr. Zihua Hu, Ph.D., a computational scientist at UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, we determined that several genes related to iron and copper homeostasis were strongly induced by iron deprivation across different developmental stages in the rat small intestine," said Collins. "We will concentrate on understanding the role of two key proteins encoded by these genes: an intestinal iron transporter called divalent metal transporter 1 (Dmt1) and an intestinal copper transporter, the Menkes copper ATPase (Atp7a)."

The overall goal of the project is to answer three specific questions regarding the role of copper in intestinal iron transport, Collins noted:

1) Are Atp7a and Dmt1 solely responsible for enhancing dietary copper absorption during iron-deficiency?

2) What are the molecular mechanisms leading to induction of the Atp7a and Dmt1 genes? and

3) Which physiological processes related to intestinal iron ion homeostasis are enhanced by increased copper levels in enterocytes (cells of the superficial layer of the intestines) and in the liver?

"We also expect to learn more about the mechanisms of dietary copper absorption, which currently are not well defined," Collins said. "Furthermore, studies addressing the impact of increased enterocyte and liver copper levels during iron-deficiency have not been reported in the scientific literature to date, so this investigation is novel. "

Key collaborators at UB are Hu, Michael D. Garrick, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry, and Laura M. Garrick, Ph.D., research associate professor of biochemistry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University at Buffalo. "Scientist Discovers Novel Iron-copper Alliance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723175306.htm>.
University at Buffalo. (2007, July 30). Scientist Discovers Novel Iron-copper Alliance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723175306.htm
University at Buffalo. "Scientist Discovers Novel Iron-copper Alliance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723175306.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins