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Open Access Open Badges Research article

The effect of psychological stress on iron absorption in rats

Jianbo Chen, Hui Shen, Chengjie Chen, Wanyin Wang, Siyu Yu, Min Zhao and Min Li*

Author Affiliations

Department of Military Hygiene, Second Military Medical University, 800 Xiangyin Road, Shanghai 200433, PR China

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BMC Gastroenterology 2009, 9:83  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-9-83

Published: 13 November 2009



Psychological stress (PS) is recognized as an important pathogenic factor which leads to metabolism disorder in many diseases. Previous studies have shown that systemic iron homeostasis in mammalians was changed under specific stress conditions.


In present study, we used communication box to create psychological stress model and investigated the iron apparent absorption, iron accumulation in the apical poles of villous enterocytes and protein expressions of ferroportin 1 (FPN1), ferritin, divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1).


Our study showed that iron apparent absorption decreased and iron significantly accumulated in the apical poles of villous enterocytes in 3 d and 7 d PS groups. The expression of intestinal FPN1 in 3 d and 7 d PS groups was lower than that of control, while the change of intestinal ferritin was opposite. However, the expression of DMT1 did not change.


These results demonstrate that PS can decrease iron absorption in rats, which might be related to regulation expression of iron transporters.