Comprehensive Physiology Wiley Online Library

Iron Absorption

Full Article on Wiley Online Library



Abstract

The sections in this article are:

1 Iron Balance
2 Dietary Iron Availability
3 Upper Gastrointestinal Secretions and Motility
4 Mucosal Iron Absorption
5 Regulation
6 Other Effects
Figure 1. Figure 1.

Format of internal iron turnover.

[From Finch and Huebers .]
Figure 2. Figure 2.

Relative amounts of iron absorbed and excreted in the normal human and with iron deficiency or iron overload.

Figure 3. Figure 3.

Iron absorptive process. Fe‐Tf, iron‐bearing transferrin; TR, transferrin receptor; HR, hemoglobin receptor; Tf‐Fe‐R, transferrin‐iron‐receptor complex.

Figure 4. Figure 4.

Relation between iron requirements, iron stores, and iron absorption.

[From Finch and Huebers .]
Figure 5. Figure 5.

Absorption of 30 μg of iron from a duodenal loop in normal rats tested at varying intervals after blocking dose of 2 mg of iron by stomach tube.



Figure 1.

Format of internal iron turnover.

[From Finch and Huebers .]


Figure 2.

Relative amounts of iron absorbed and excreted in the normal human and with iron deficiency or iron overload.



Figure 3.

Iron absorptive process. Fe‐Tf, iron‐bearing transferrin; TR, transferrin receptor; HR, hemoglobin receptor; Tf‐Fe‐R, transferrin‐iron‐receptor complex.



Figure 4.

Relation between iron requirements, iron stores, and iron absorption.

[From Finch and Huebers .]


Figure 5.

Absorption of 30 μg of iron from a duodenal loop in normal rats tested at varying intervals after blocking dose of 2 mg of iron by stomach tube.

References
 1. Allgood, J. W., and E. B. Brown. The relationship between duodenal mucosal iron concentration and iron absorption in human subjects. Scand. J. Haematol. 4: 217–229, 1967.
 2. Baig, M. M., C. W. Burgin, and J. J. Cerda. Effect of dietary pectin on iron absorption and turnover in the rat. J. Nutr. 113: 2385–2389, 1983.
 3. Baird, I. M., E. K. Blackburn, and G. M. Wilson. The pathogenesis of anaemia after partial gastrectomy. I. Development of anaemia in relation to time after operation, blood loss, and diet. Q. J. Med. 28: 21–41, 1959.
 4. Balcerzak, S. P., and N. J. Greenberger. Iron content of isolated intestinal epithelial cells in relation to iron absorption. Nature Lond. 220: 270–271, 1968.
 5. Bérton, J. C., M. E. Conrad, and R. T. Parmley. Calcium inhibition of inorganic iron absorption in rats. Gastroenterology 84: 90–101, 1983.
 6. Bédard, Y. C., S. Clarke, P. H. Pinkerton, and T. Simon. Effect of cycloheximide on iron absorption. Lab. Invest. 30: 155–160, 1974.
 7. Bédard, Y. C., P. H. Pinkerton, and G. T. Simon. Radioautographic observations on iron absorption by the duodenum of mice with iron overload, iron deficiency, and x‐linked anemia. Blood 42: 131–140, 1973.
 8. Benirschke, K., C. Miller, I. Ippen, and A. Elstab. The pathology of prosimians, especially lemurs. Adv. Vet. Sci. Comp. Med. 30: 167–208, 1985.
 9. Bergamaschi, G., M. J. Eng, H. A. Huebers, and C. A. Finch. The effect of transferrin saturation on internal iron exchange. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 183: 66–73, 1986.
 10. Bezkorovainy, A. Absorption of nonheme iron. In: Biochemistry of Nonheme Iron, edited by E. Frieden, New York: Plenum, 1980, p. 47–126.
 11. Bhargava, M., and E. E. Gabbe. Chronic experimental iron losses in rats not leading to overt iron deficiency: a model for the regulation of the whole‐body iron balance in an iron‐replete condition. J. Nutr. 114: 1060–1069, 1984.
 12. Björn‐Rasmussen, E. Iron absorption from wheat bread. Nutr. Metabol. 16: 101–110, 1974.
 13. Björn‐Rasmussen, E., J. Carneskog, and A. Cederblad. Losses of ingested iron temporarily retained in the gastrointestinal tract. Scand. J. Haematol. 25: 124–126, 1980.
 14. Björn‐Rasmussen, E., L. Hallberg, B. Isaksson, and B. Arvidsson. Food iron absorption in man. Applications of the two‐pool extrinsic tag method to measure heme and non‐heme iron absorption from the whole diet. J. Clin. Invest. 53: 247–255, 1974.
 15. Bothwell, T. H., R. W. Charlton, J. D. Cook, and C. A. Finch. Iron Metabolism in Man. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1979.
 16. Bothwell, T. H., G. Pirzio‐Biroli, and C. A. Finch. Iron absorption. I. Factors influencing absorption. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 51: 24–36, 1958.
 17. Bothwell, T. H., W. F. Pribilla, W. Mebust, and C. A. Finch. Iron metabolism in the pregnant rabbit. Iron transport across the placenta. Am. J. Physiol. 193: 615–622, 1958.
 18. Brozovic, B. Absorption of iron. In: Intestinal Absorption in Man, edited by I. McColl and G. E. Sladen. New York: Academic, 1975, p. 263–314.
 19. Cavill, I., M. Worwood, and A. Jacobs. Internal regulation of iron absorption. Nature Lond. 256: 328–329, 1975.
 20. Cheney, B. A., K. Lothe, E. H. Morgan, S. K. Sood, and C. A. Finch. Internal iron exchange in the rat. Am. J. Physiol. 212: 376–380, 1967.
 21. Conrad, M. E., and W. H. Crosby. Intestinal mucosal mechanisms controlling iron absorption. Blood 22: 406–415, 1963.
 22. Cook, J. D., G. M. Brown, and L. S. Valberg. The effect of achylia gastrica on iron absorption. J. Clin. Invest. 43: 1185–1191, 1964.
 23. Cook, J. D., and C. A. Finch. Iron nutrition. West. J. Med. 122: 474–481, 1975.
 24. Cook, J. D., and C. A. Finch. Ferrokinetic measurements. In: Iron, edited by J. D. Cook. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1980, p. 134–147.
 25. Cook, J. D., C. Hershko, and C. A. Finch. Storage iron kinetics. V. Iron exchange in the rat. Br. J. Haematol. 25: 695–706, 1973.
 26. Cook, J. D., M. Layrisse, C. Martinez‐Torres, R. Walker, E. Monsen, and C. A. Finch, Food iron absorption measured by an extrinsic tag. J. Clin. Invest. 51: 805–815, 1972.
 27. Cook, J. D., and E. R. Monsen. Food iron absorption in man. II. The effect of EDTA on absorption of dietary non‐heme iron. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 29: 614–620, 1976.
 28. Cook, J. D., and E. R. Monsen. Food iron absorption in human subjects. III. Comparison of the effect of animal proteins on nonheme iron absorption. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 29: 859–867, 1976.
 29. Cook, J. D., and E. R. Monsen. Vitamin C, the common cold, and iron absorption. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 30: 235–241, 1977.
 30. Cortell, S., and M. E. Conrad. Effect of endotoxin on iron absorption. Am. J. Physiol. 213: 43–47, 1967.
 31. Crosby, W. H. Iron absorption. In: Handbook of Physiology. Alimentary Canal, edited by C. F. Code. Washington, DC: Am. Physiol. Soc., 1968, sect. 6, vol. III, chapt. 78, p. 1553–1570.
 32. Derman, D. P., T. H. Bothwell, J. D. Torrance, A. P. Macphail, W. R. Bezwoda, R. W. Charlton, and F. G. Mayet. Iron absorption from ferritin and ferric hydroxide. Scand. J. Haematol. 29: 18–24, 1982.
 33. Disler, P. B., S. R. Lynch, J. D. Torrance, M. H. Sayers, T. H. Bothwell, and R. W. Charlton. The mechanism of the inhibition of iron absorption by tea. S. Afr. J. Med. Sci. 40: 109–116, 1975.
 34. Dubach, R., C. V. Moore, and S. Callender. Studies in iron transportation and metabolism. IX. The excretion of iron as measured by the isotope technique. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 45: 499–615, 1955.
 35. Edwards, J. A., and J. E. Hoke. Defect of intestinal mucosal iron uptake in mice with hereditary microcytic anemia (36720). Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 141: 81–84, 1972.
 36. Edwards, J. A., and J. E. Hoke. Mucosal iron binding proteins in sex‐linked anemia and microcytic anemia of the mouse. J. Med. 9: 353–364, 1978.
 37. El‐Shobaki, F. A., and W. Rummel. The role of mucosal iron binding proteins in adaptation of iron absorption during protein deficiency and rehabilitation. Res. Exp. Med. 173: 119–129, 1978.
 38. Fairweather‐Tait, S. J., and A. J. A. Wright. The influence of previous iron intake on the estimation of bioavailability of Fe from a test meal given to rats. Br. J. Nutr. 51: 185–191, 1984.
 39. Fawwaz, R. A., H. S. Winchell, M. Pollycove, and T. Sargent. Hepatic iron deposition in humans. I. First‐pass hepatic deposition of intestinally absorbed iron in patients with low plasma latent iron‐binding capacity. Blood 30: 417–424, 1967.
 40. Fernandez, R., and S. F. Phillips. Components of fiber impaired iron absorption in the dog. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 35: 107–112, 1982.
 41. Finch, C. A. Body iron exchange in man. J. Clin. Invest. 38: 392–396, 1959.
 42. Finch, C. A., and H. Huebers. Perspectives in iron metabolism. N. Engl. J. Med. 306: 1520–1528, 1982.
 43. Finch, C. A., H. Huebers, M. Eng, and L. Miller. Effect of transfused reticulocytes on iron exchange. Blood 59: 364–369, 1982.
 44. Finch, C. A., H. A. Huebers, L. Miller, B. Josephson, T. Shepard, and B. Mackler. Fetal iron balance in the rat. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 37: 910–917, 1983.
 45. Finch, C. A., H. A. Ragan, I. A. Dyer, and J. D. Cook. Body iron loss in animals. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 159: 335–338, 1978.
 46. Finch, S., D. Haskins, and C. A. Finch. Iron metabolism. Hematopoiesis following phlebotomy. Iron as a limiting factor. J. Clin. Invest. 29: 1078–1086, 1950.
 47. Forth, W., and W. Rummel. Gastrointestinal absorption of heavy metals. In: Pharmacology of Intestinal Absorption: Gastrointestinal Absorption of Drugs. Oxford, UK: Pergamon, 1975, p. 599–746. (IEPT sect. 39b.)
 48. Goya, N., S. Miyazaki, S. Kodate, and B. Ushio. A family of congenital atransferrinemia. Blood 40: 239–245, 1972.
 49. Green, R., R. Charlton, H. Seftel, T. Bothwell, F. Mayet, C. A. Finch, and M. Layrisse. Body iron excretion in man. Am. J. Med. 45: 336–353, 1968.
 50. Hallberg, L. Bioavailability of dietary iron in man. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 1: 123–147, 1981.
 51. Hallberg, L., and E. Björn‐Rasmussen. Determination of iron absorption from whole diet. A new two‐pool model using two radioiron isotopes given as haem and non‐haem iron. Scand. J. Haematol. 9: 193–197, 1972.
 52. Hallberg, L., E. Björn‐Rasmussen, L. Rossander, R. Suwanik, R. Pleehachinda, and M. Tuntawiroon. Iron absorption from some Asian meals containing contamination iron. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 37: 272–277, 1983.
 53. Heinrich, H. C. Clinical aspects of iron absorption and turnover. In: Iron Metabolism and Its Disorders, edited by H. Kief, New York: Elsevier, 1975, p. 34–58.
 54. Heinrich, H. C., E. E. Gabbe, and G. Kugler. Comparative absorption of ferri‐haemoglobin‐59Fe/ferro‐haemoglobin‐59Fe and 59Fe3+/59Fe2 + in humans with normal and depleted iron stores. Eur. J. Clin. Invest. 1: 321–327, 1971.
 55. Hershko, C., J. D. Cook, and C. A. Finch. Storage iron kinetics. VI. The effect of inflammation on iron exchange in the rat. Br. J. Haematol. 26: 67–75, 1974.
 56. Hoglund, S., L. Ehn, and G. Lieden. Studies in iron absorption. VII. Iron deficiency in young men. Acta Haematol. Basel 44: 193–199, 1970.
 57. Huebers, H. A., G. M. Brittenham, E. Csiba, and C. A. Finch. The absorption of carbonyl iron. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 108: 473–478, 1986.
 58. Huebers, H. A., E. Huebers, E. Csiba, and C. A. Finch. Uptake and release of the transferrin iron complex by the rat small intestine (Abstract). Blood 66: 45a, 1985.
 59. Huebers, H. A., E. Huebers, E. Csiba, W. Rummel, and C. A. Finch. The significance of transferrin for intestinal iron absorption. Blood 61: 283–290, 1983.
 60. Huebers, H., E. Huebers, and W. Rummel. Isolation and characterization of iron‐binding proteins from rat intestinal mucosa. Eur. J. Biochem. 66: 447–455, 1976.
 61. Huebers, H., and W. Rummel. Protein mediated epithelial iron transfer. In: Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology. Pharmacology of Intestinal Permeation I, edited by T. Z. Csaky. Berlin: Springer‐Verlag, 1984, vol. 70, p. 513–541.
 62. Humphrys, J., B. Walpole, and M. Worwood. Intracellular iron transport in rat intestinal epithelium: biochemical and ultrastructural observations. Br. J. Haematol. 36: 209–217, 1977.
 63. Idzerda, R. L., H. Huebers, C. A. Finch, and G. S. McKnight. Rat transferrin gene expression: tissue‐specific regulation by iron deficiency. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 83: 3723–3727, 1986.
 64. Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition for National Defense. Nutrition Surveys 1956–1963. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. Defense, 1956, p. 209–217.
 65. Jacobs, A., J. Rhodes, and J. D. Eakins. Gastric factors influencing iron absorption in anaemic patients. Scand. J. Haematol. 4: 105–110, 1967.
 66. Kaufman, N., J. C. Wyllie, and M. Newkirk. Two microsomal‐associated iron‐binding proteins observed in rat small intestinal cells during iron absorption. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 497: 719–727, 1977.
 67. Kelly, K. A., A. Turnbull, E. E. Cammock, C. T. Bombeck, L. M. Nyhus, and C. A. Finch. Iron absorption after gastrectomy: an experimental study in the dog. Surgery St. Louis 62: 356–360, 1967.
 68. Lang, E., and E. Undritz. Die Eisenbehandlung der alimentaren Anämie in Gefangenschaft lebender Elefanten, ein Beitrag zum Problem der alimentaren Anämie uberhaupt. Schweiz. Med. Wochenschr. 84: 1120–1122, 1954.
 69. Layrisse, M., J. D. Cook, D. Martinez, M. Roche, I. N. Kuhn, R. B. Walker, and C. A. Finch. Food iron absorption: a comparison of vegetable and animal foods. Blood 33: 430–443, 1969.
 70. Layrisse, M., C. Martinez‐Torres, M. Renzy, and I. Leets. Ferritin iron absorption in man. Blood 45: 689–698, 1975.
 71. MacPhail, A. P., T. H. Bothwell, J. D. Torrance, D. P. Derman, W. R. Bezwoda, R. W. Charlton, and F. Mayet. Factors affecting the absorption of iron from Fe(III)EDTA. Br. J. Nutr. 45: 215–227, 1981.
 72. Magnusson, B., E. Björn‐Rasmussen, L. Hallberg, and L. Rossander. Iron absorption in relation to iron status. Model proposed to express results of food iron absorption measurements. Scand. J. Haematol. 27: 201–208, 1981.
 73. Magnusson, B., A. Faxén, A. Cederblad, L. Rosander, J. Kewenter, and L. Hallberg. The effect of parietal cell vagotomy and selective vagotomy with pyloroplasty on iron absorption. A prospective, randomized study. Scand. J. Gastroenterol. 14: 177–182, 1979.
 74. Martinez‐Torres, C., and M. Layrisse. Effect of amino acids on iron absorption from a staple vegetable food. Blood 35: 669–682, 1970.
 75. Martinez‐Torres, C., E. Romano, and M. Layrisse. Effect of cysteine on iron absorption in man. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 34: 322–327, 1981.
 76. McCance, R. A., and E. M. Widdowson. Absorption and excretion of iron. Lancet 2: 680–684, 1937.
 77. Monsen, E. R., and J. D. Cook. Food iron absorption in human subjects. IV. The effects of calcium and phosphate salts on the absorption of nonheme iron. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 29: 1142–1148, 1976.
 78. Monsen, E. R., C. W. Critchlow, C. A. Finch, and D. M. Donohue. Iron balance in superdonors. Transfusion Paris 23: 221–225, 1983.
 79. Monsen, E. R., L. Hallberg, M. Layrisse, D. M. Hegsted, J. D. Cook, W. Mertz, and C. A. Finch. Estimation of available dietary iron. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 31: 134–141, 1978.
 80. Moore, C. V., R. Dubach, V. Minnich, and H. K. Roberts. Absorption of ferrous and ferric radioactive iron by human subjects and by dogs. J. Clin. Invest. 23: 755–767, 1944.
 81. Morgan, E. H. The role of plasma transferrin in iron absorption in the rat. Q. J. Exp. Physiol. 65: 239–252, 1980.
 82. Morgan, E. H. Transferrin, biochemistry, physiology and clinical significance. In: Molecular Aspects of Medicine. Oxford, UK: Pergamon, 1981, vol. 4, p. 1–123.
 83. Mourianand, C. Villosite intestinale et metabolisme du fer. Rev. Haematol. 15: 472–488, 1960.
 84. Muir, A., and U. Hopfer. Regional specificity of iron uptake by small intestinal brush‐border membranes from normal and iron‐deficient mice. Am. J. Physiol. 248 (Gastrointest. Liver Physiol. 11): G376–G379, 1985.
 85. Murray, M. J., and N. Stein. Does the pancreas influence iron absorption? Gastroenterology 51: 694–700, 1966.
 86. Olsson, E., B. Isaksson, A. Norrby, and L. Solvell. Food iron absorption in iron deficiency. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 31: 106–111, 1978.
 87. Parmley, R. T., J. C. Barton, and M. E. Conrad. Ultrastructural cytochemical identification of the siderophilic enterocyte. J. Histochem. Cytochem. 32: 724–730, 1984.
 88. Parmley, R. T., J. C. Barton, M. E. Conrad, and R. L. Austin. Ultrastructural cytochemistry of iron absorption. Am. J. Pathol. 93: 707–727, 1978.
 89. Pirzio‐Biroli, G., and C. A. Finch. Iron absorption. III. The influence of iron stores on iron absorption in the normal subject. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 55: 216–220, 1960.
 90. Pollack, S., and T. Campana. The relationship between mucosal iron and iron absorption in the guinea pig. Scand. J. Haematol. 7: 208–211, 1970.
 91. Pootrakul, P., H. Huebers, C. Finch, M. Pippard, and M. Cazzola. Iron metabolism in thalassemia. Proc. Int. Congr. Thalassemia, 1986. In press.
 92. Rao, B. S. N., J. S. Prasad, and C. V. Sarathy. An animal model to study iron availability from human diets. Br. J. Nutr. 37: 451–456, 1977.
 93. Refsum, S. B., and B. B.‐J. Schreiner. Regulation of iron balance by absorption and excretion. Scand. J. Gastroenterol. 19: 867–874, 1984.
 94. Schade, S. G., G. M. Bernier, and M. E. Conrad. Normal iron absorption in hypertransferrinaemic rats. Br. J. Haematol. 17: 187–190, 1969.
 95. Sheldon, J. H. Haemochromatosis. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1935.
 96. Skikne, B. S., S. R. Lynch, and J. D. Cook. Role of gastric acid in food iron absorption. Gastroenterology 81: 1068–1071, 1981.
 97. Smith, J. A., J. W. Drysdale, A. Goldberg, and H. N. Munro. The effect of enteral and parenteral iron on ferritin synthesis in the intestinal mucosa of the rat. Br. J. Haematol. 14: 79–86, 1968.
 98. Subcommittee on Iron. Iron, edited by Committee on Medical and Biologic Effects of Environmental Pollutants. Baltimore, MD: University Park, 1979, p. 1–248.
 99. Thomas, F. B., N. Baba, N. J. Greenberger, and D. Salsburey. Effect of phenobarbital on small intestinal structure and function in the rat. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 80: 548–558, 1972.
 100. Thomas, F. B., F. S. McCullough, and N. J. Greenberger. Effect of phenobarbital on the absorption of inorganic and hemoglobin iron in the rat. Gastroenterology 62: 590–599, 1972.
 101. Turnberg, L. A. The absorption of iron after partial gastrectomy. Q. J. Med. 35: 107–118, 1966.
 102. Turnbull, A. Iron absorption. In: Iron in Biochemistry and Medicine, edited by A. Jacobs and M. Worwood, London: Academic, 1974, p. 369–403.
 103. Weiden, P. L., R. C. Hackman, and H. J. Deeg. Long‐term survival and reversal of iron overload after marrow transplantation in dogs with congenital hemolytic anemia. Blood 57: 66–70, 1981.
 104. Weintraub, L. R., M. E. Conrad, and W. H. Crosby. Absorption of hemoglobin iron by the rat. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 120: 840–843, 1965.
 105. Wheby, M. S. Site of iron absorption in man. Scand. J. Haematol. 7: 56–62, 1970.
 106. Wheby, M. S., and D. A. Spyker. Hemoglobin iron absorption kinetics in the iron‐deficient dog. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 34: 1686–1693, 1981.
 107. Wheby, M. S., and G. Umpierre. Effect of transferrin saturation on iron absorption in man. N. Engl. J. Med. 271: 1391–1395, 1964.
 108. Whittaker, P., B. S. Skikne, S. R. Lynch, and J. D. Cook. Relationship of duodenal mucosal ferritin and transferrin to iron absorption in humans (Abstract). Blood 66: 51a, 1985.
 109. Wretlind, A. The supply of food iron. In: Gastroenterology, edited by G. Blix, Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1968, p. 73–91.

Contact Editor

Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite

Clement A. Finch, Helmut A. Huebers. Iron Absorption. Compr Physiol 2011, Supplement 19: Handbook of Physiology, The Gastrointestinal System, Intestinal Absorption and Secretion: 361-369. First published in print 1991. doi: 10.1002/cphy.cp060414