An experimental study on the pathway of iron transfer from macrophages to erythrocytes in rat liver

Toshiro Ono, Masahiko Akita, Satimaru Seno, Tadashi Tsujii

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In order to reveal the pathway of iron release from macrophages, a 59Fe-labelled ferric hydroxide-potassium polyvinyl sulfate complex (Fe-PVS) was injected intravenously into anemic rats and the level of radioactivity in the liver, spleen, bone marrow, blood plasma and red blood cells (RBC) was estimated at various time intervals after the injection. Histochemical observation of ferric iron and ferritin in the liver was also made on anemic rats treated using unlabelled Fe-PVS. Fe-PVS injection promoted the recovery of anemia causing a rapid increase in the RBC number, with activated erythropoiesis occurring in the spleen and bone marrow. Soon after the injection, most of the radio iron was found in the liver with a small amount in the circulating erythrocytes, bone marrow and spleen. The iron level in the liver decreased gradually with a rapid increase in the iron level of the erythrocytes which reached a very high level 6 days after the 59Fe-PVS injection. Histochemical observations showed a heavy deposition of ferritin in the Kupffer cells 3 days after Fe-PVS injection. This deposition was minimized after 6 days with an increase in the level of ferritin in the parenchymal cells in the central area of acini. The level of radioferritin estimated biochemically in the nonparenchymal cell fractions of the liver revealed that the level dropped by about one third approximately 3.5 days after the Fe-PVS injection, showing the stimulated ferritin release at this stage. Results indicate that Kupffer cells in the liver play an important role in ferritin synthesis from the phagocytized iron compounds and that the iron is supplied for erythroid cell proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-74
Number of pages14
JournalCell structure and function
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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