Iron-related transcriptomic variations in CaCo-2 cells, an in vitro model of intestinal absorptive cells

Physiol Genomics. 2006 Jun 16;26(1):55-67. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00297.2005. Epub 2006 Apr 25.


Regulation of iron absorption by duodenal enterocytes is essential for the maintenance of homeostasis by preventing iron deficiency or overload. Despite the identification of a number of genes implicated in iron absorption and its regulation, it is likely that further factors remain to be identified. For that purpose, we used a global transcriptomic approach, using the CaCo-2 cell line as an in vitro model of intestinal absorptive cells. Pangenomic screening for variations in gene expression correlating with intracellular iron content allowed us to identify 171 genes. One hundred nine of these genes are clustered into five types of expression profile. This is the first time that most of these genes have been associated with iron metabolism. Functional annotation of these five clusters indicates potential links between the immune response, proteolysis processes, and iron depletion. In contrast, iron overload is associated with cellular metabolism, especially that of lipids and glutathione involving redox function and electron transfer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Ferritins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism
  • Hemin / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Metallothionein / genetics
  • Metallothionein / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Hemin
  • Ferritins
  • Metallothionein
  • Iron
  • Glutathione Transferase