Riboflavin deficiency in the rat: Effects on iron utilization and loss

Hilary J. Powers, L. T. Weaver, S. Austin, A. J. A. Wright, S. J. Fairweather-Tait

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Iron absorption and daily loss of Fe were measured in riboflavin-deficient (B2-) Norwegian hooded rats and controls (B2+). Animals were fed on a test meal extrinsically labelled with 59Fe and whole-body radioactivity measured for 15 d. Riboflavin deficiency led to a reduction in the percentage of the 59Fe dose absorbed and an increased rate of 59Fe loss. All post-absorption 59Fe loss could be accounted for by faecal 59Fe, confirming that the loss was gastrointestinal. Fe concentrations and 59Fe as a percentage of retained whole-body 59Fe were higher in the small intestine of riboflavin-deficient animals than their controls, 14 d after the test meal. A separate experiment demonstrated that riboflavin deficiency was associated with a significant proliferative response of the duodenal crypts of the small intestine. These observations may explain the enhanced Fe loss in riboflavin deficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-496
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1991


  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Duodenum
  • Female
  • Intestine, Small
  • Iron
  • Iron Radioisotopes
  • Liver
  • Rats
  • Riboflavin Deficiency
  • Tissue Distribution

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