Study of iron metabolism disturbances in an animal model of insulin resistance

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2007 Sep;77(3):363-70. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2007.02.004. Epub 2007 Mar 9.


The relationship between iron and insulin-resistance (IR) is documented by the positive correlation between iron stores and IR. Moreover, some patients exhibited a hepatic iron overload associated with IR (HIO-IR) but the mechanism involved in this overload is not known. Thus, we studied the iron metabolism disturbances in an animal model of IR and the influence of provoked hyperglycemia/hyperinsulinemia on plasma iron parameters. Wistar rats were fed a control or a high-fat/high-energy (HF/HE) diet. Plasma glucose, insulin, iron, transferrin and transferrin saturation (TS) were measured during intra-peritoneal glucose test tolerance (IPGTT) compared to saline. Hemogram, tissue iron concentrations and hepatic hepcidin mRNA expression were determined at the end of experiment. HF/HE rats exhibited higher body and liver weights, increased IR-index and hemoglobin concentration. Iron content was lower in the spleen of HF/HE rats and tended to decrease in the liver as compared to controls. Transferrin values were higher and these of TS lower in HF/HE group. The hepcidin mRNA was 3.5-fold lower in HF/HE rats than in controls. IPGTT had no effect on iron status parameters in both groups. As reflected by higher hemoglobin concentration, IR could increase erythropoïesis which enhances iron requirement. Iron stores and TS value decreased leading to a down-regulation of hepcidin expression which increased iron absorption. Hepcidin expression should be investigated in metabolic syndrome and hepatic iron overload associated with IR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / genetics
  • Body Weight
  • Diet
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Hepcidins
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Hyperinsulinism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Iron / blood
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Transferrin / metabolism


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Hamp protein, rat
  • Hemoglobins
  • Hepcidins
  • Transferrin
  • Iron