Effect of enhanced erythropoiesis on iron absorption.J Lab Clin Med. 1992 Nov; 120(5):746-51.JL
To examine the influence of erythropoiesis on iron absorption, radioiron absorption tests were performed in normal subjects before and after a course of recombinant erythropoietin. The absorption of heme and nonheme iron from a standard meal was measured in nine subjects, and the absorption of a therapeutic dose of ferrous sulfate given with or without food was determined in an additional 11 subjects. The subcutaneous administration of 100 U recombinant human erythropoietin/kg body weight given on 10 successive days over a 2-week period induced a brisk increase in erythropoiesis and a sharp decrease in iron stores. With the standard meal, there was a modest increase in heme iron absorption from 47.0% to 58.6% (p < 0.05) and a dramatic five-fold rise in nonheme iron absorption from 5.9% to 31.8% (p < 0.001). The absorption of 50 mg iron as ferrous sulfate increased from 2.0% to 17.9% when given with food (p < 0.001) and from 7.0% to 24.6% when given with water (p < 0.001). To assess the effect of erythropoiesis independently of the induced changes in iron status, the absorption data were adjusted to a common serum ferritin level. The relative increase in iron absorption was still significant for both dietary nonheme iron (ratio 2.51, p < 0.02) and ferrous sulfate given with food (ratio 2.99, p < 0.01). It is concluded that the striking enhancement of iron absorption following regular erythropoietin administration in normal subjects is related to the combined effect of diminished iron stores and augmented erythropoiesis.