FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Iron loading impairs lipoprotein lipase activity and promotes hypertriglyceridemia.

PMID 23241313


Iron loading is associated with altered lipid metabolism, but underlying mechanisms remain unknown. We compared serum iron and triglycerides (TGs) in Belgrade rats, a genetic model of iron-loading anemia. Homozygous b/b rats had greater serum iron (68 vs. 28 μM; P=0.0004) and TG levels (180 vs. 84 mg/dl; P=0.014) compared to +/b controls. To confirm the association between iron loading and high TGs, Fischer rats were fed chow containing 1% carbonyl iron. Compared to controls pair-fed normal chow, carbonyl iron-fed rats had elevated serum iron (42 vs. 21 μM; P=0.007) and TGs (190 vs. 115 mg/dl; P=0.009). Despite normal hepatic production and secretion, TG clearance was lower in b/b than +/b rats due to reduced serum lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity (3.1 vs. 5.0 mM/min; P=0.026). Likewise, LPL was lower in carbonyl iron-fed rats compared to controls (2.4 vs. 3.7 mM/min; P=0.017). Direct addition of iron to serum ex vivo or recombinant LPL in vitro decreased enzymatic activity in a dose-dependent manner. Lowering serum iron in Belgrade rats reduced TG levels (274 to 67 mg/dl, P=0.001). This study explains the relationship between iron status and lipid metabolism and provides mechanistic support for interventions that reduce serum iron levels in individuals at risk for hypertriglyceridemia.