Adaptive changes of duodenal iron transport proteins in celiac disease

Donatella Barisani, Antonina Parafioriti, Maria Teresa Bardella, Heinz Zoller, Dario Conte, Elisabetta Armiraglio, Cristina Trovato, Robert O. Koch, Günter Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Iron deficiency is a manifestation of celiac disease (CD) usually attributed to a decreased absorptive surface, although no data on the regulation of iron transport under these conditions are currently available. Our aim was to evaluate divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1), duodenal cytochrome b (Dcytb), ferroportin 1 (FP1), hephaestin, and transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1) expression, as well as iron regulatory protein (IRP) activity in duodenal biopsies from control, anemic, and CD patients. We studied 10 subjects with dyspepsia, 6 with iron-deficiency anemia, and 25 with CD. mRNA levels were determined by real-time PCR, protein expression by Western blotting or immunohistochemistry, and IRP activity by gel shift assay. Our results showed that DMT1, FP1, hephaestin, and TfR1 mRNA levels were significantly increased in CD patients with reduced body iron stores compared with controls, similar to what was observed in anemic patients. Protein expression paralleled the mRNAs changes. DMT1 protein expression was localized in differentiated enterocytes at the villi tips in controls, whereas with iron deficiency it was observed throughout the villi. FP1 expression was localized on the basolateral membrane of enterocytes and increased with low iron stores. TfR1 was localized in the crypts in controls but also in the villi with iron deficiency. These changes were paralleled by IRP activity, which increased in all iron-deficient subjects. We conclude that duodenal DMT1, FP1, hephaestin, and TfR1 expression and IRP activity, thus the iron absorption capacity, are upregulated in CD patients as a consequence of iron deficiency, whereas the increased enterocyte proliferation observed in CD has no effect on iron uptake regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-325
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiol Genomics
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004


  • Divalent metal transporter 1
  • Ferroportin 1
  • Iron absorption
  • Transferrin receptor 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Adaptive changes of duodenal iron transport proteins in celiac disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this