Globus pallidus: A target brain region for divalent metal accumulation associated with dietary iron deficiency

Keith M. Erikson, Tore Syversen, Eiliv Steinnes, Michael Aschner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations


Recently, iron deficiency has been connected with a heterogeneous accumulation of manganese in the rat brain. The striatum is particularly vulnerable, for there is a significant negative correlation between accumulated manganese and γ-aminobutyric acid levels. The effect of dietary iron deficiency on the distribution of zinc and copper, two other divalent metals with essential neurobiological roles, is relatively unexplored. Thus, the primary goal of this study was to examine the effect of manipulating dietary iron and manganese levels on the concentrations of copper, iron, manganese and zinc in five rat brain regions as determined with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry analysis. Because divalent metal transporter has been implicated as a transporter of brain iron, manganese, and to a lesser extent zinc and copper, another goal of the study was to measure brain regional changes in transporter levels using Western blot analysis. As expected, there was a significant effect of iron deficiency (P < 0.05) on decreasing iron concentrations in the cerebellum and caudate putamen; and increasing manganese concentrations in caudate putamen, globus pallidus and substantia nigra. Furthermore, there was a significant effect of iron deficiency (P < 0.05) on increasing zinc concentration and a statistical trend (P = 0.08) toward iron deficiency-induced copper accumulation in the globus pallidus. Transporter protein in all five regions increased due to iron deficiency compared to control levels (P < 0.05); however, the globus pallidus and substantia nigra revealed the greatest increase. Therefore, the globus pallidus appears to be a target for divalent metal accumulation that is associated with dietary iron deficiency, potentially caused by increased transporter protein levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-341
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Brain
  • Iron deficiency
  • Manganese
  • Rat
  • Striatum
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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