A postweaning iron-adequate diet following neonatal iron deficiency affects iron homeostasis and growth in young rats.J Nutr 2011; 141(3):386-90JN
Iron deficiency is among the most prevalent of nutrient-related diseases worldwide, but the long-term consequences of maternal and neonatal iron deficiency on offspring are not well characterized. We investigated the effects of a postweaning iron-adequate diet following neonatal iron deficiency on the expression of genes involved in iron acquisition and homeostasis. Pregnant rats were fed an iron-adequate diet (0.08 g iron/kg diet) until gestational d 15, at which time they were divided into 2 groups: 1) a control group fed an iron-adequate diet, and 2) an iron-deficient group fed an iron-deficient diet (0.005 g iron/kg diet) through postnatal d (P) 23 (weaning). After weaning, pups from both dietary treatment groups were fed an iron-adequate diet until adulthood (P75). Rat pups that were iron deficient during the neonatal period (IDIA) had reduced weight gain and hemoglobin concentrations and decreased levels of serum, liver, and spleen iron on P75 compared with rats that were iron sufficient throughout early life (IA). IDIA rats developed erythrocytosis during postweaning development. Further, hepatic expression of hepcidin in IDIA rats was 1.4-fold greater than in IA rats, which paralleled an upregulation of IL-1 expression in the serum. Our data suggest that an iron-adequate diet following neonatal iron deficiency induced an inflammatory milieu that affected iron homeostasis and early growth and development.