Chronic exposure to high levels of dietary iron fortification increases lipid peroxidation in the mucosa of the rat large intestine

Elizabeth K. Lund, Susan J. Fairweather-Tait, S. Gabrielle Wharf, Ian T. Johnson

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74 Citations (Scopus)


There is increasing evidence that excess dietary iron may be a risk factor for colorectal cancer. However, the majority of animal studies looking at possible mechanism have used unrealistically high concentrations of iron. The current study was designed to test whether chronic exposure to high levels of iron fortification affects the free radical generating capacity of the lumenal contents, mucosal lipid peroxidation and crypt cell proliferation. Rats were fed diets containing either 29 mg/kg or 102 mg/kg of elemental iron for 6 mo. The free radical generating capacity of lumenal contents was assessed using an in vitro assay. Crypt cell proliferation rate was measured in tissues taken from the cecum and colon, with the remaining tissue being used for the assessment of lipid peroxidation. Chronic feeding of iron did not increase crypt cell proliferation rate in either the colon or cecum, but it was associated with an increase in free radical generating capacity in the colon and increased lipid peroxidation, particularly in the cecum. These results may be relevant to epidemiological evidence showing that dietary iron is associated with the risk of proximal colon cancer in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2928-2931
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2001


  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Colon
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Intestinal Mucosa
  • Iron, Dietary
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar

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