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Iron Deficiency and Iron Excess Differently Affect Dendritic Architecture of Pyramidal Neurons in the Hippocampus of Piglets.

  • Author(s): Perng, Vivian;
  • Li, Chong;
  • Klocke, Carolyn R;
  • Navazesh, Shya E;
  • Pinneles, Danna K;
  • Lein, Pamela J;
  • Ji, Peng
  • et al.
Abstract

Background

Both iron deficiency and overload may adversely affect neurodevelopment.

Objectives

The study assessed how changes in early-life iron status affect iron homeostasis and cytoarchitecture of hippocampal neurons in a piglet model.

Methods

On postnatal day (PD) 1, 30 Hampshire × Yorkshire crossbreed piglets (n = 15/sex) were stratified by sex and litter and randomly assigned to experimental groups receiving low (L-Fe), adequate (A-Fe), or high (H-Fe) levels of iron supplement during the pre- (PD1-21) and postweaning periods (PD22-35). Pigs in the L-Fe, A-Fe, and H-Fe groups orally received 0, 1, and 30 mg Fe · kg weight-1 · d-1 preweaning and were fed a diet containing 30, 125, and 1000 mg Fe/kg postweaning, respectively. Heme indexes were analyzed weekly, and gene and protein expressions of iron regulatory proteins in duodenal mucosa, liver, and hippocampus were analyzed through qRT-PCR and western blot, respectively, on PD35. Hippocampal neurons stained using the Golgi-Cox method were traced and their dendritic arbors reconstructed in 3-D using Neurolucida. Dendritic complexity was quantified using Sholl and branch order analyses.

Results

Pigs in the L-Fe group developed iron deficiency anemia (hemoglobin = 8.2 g/dL, hematocrit = 20.1%) on PD35 and became stunted during week 5 with lower final body weight than H-Fe group pigs (6.6 compared with 9.6 kg, P < 0.05). In comparison with A-Fe, H-Fe increased hippocampal ferritin expression by 38% and L-Fe decreased its expression by 52% (P < 0.05), suggesting altered hippocampal iron stores. Pigs in the H-Fe group had greater dendritic complexity in CA1/3 pyramidal neurons than L-Fe group pigs as shown by more dendritic intersections with Sholl rings (P ≤ 0.04) and a greater number of dendrites (P ≤ 0.016).

Conclusions

In piglets, the developing hippocampus is susceptible to perturbations by dietary iron, with deficiency and overload differentially affecting dendritic arborization.

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