Increased small intestine expression of Non-Heme Iron transporters in morbidly obese patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes
Scope: To investigate intestinal markers of iron absorption in morbidly obese subjects according to glucose tolerance. Methods and results: Gene expression of both non-heme (SLC40A1 (ferroportin), SLC11A2) and heme iron (SLC46A1 (HCP1), HMOX1) transporters is analyzed in 38 small intestine tissue samples [11 with normal glucose tolerance, 14 with glucose intolerance (GI), and 13 with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes (T2D)]. SLC40A1 (r = 0.43, p = 0.008) and SLC11A2 (r = 0.35, p = 0.03) mRNA levels are positively correlated with ferritin-to-hepcidin ratio and with fasting glucose, being significantly increased in patients with T2D. Only ferroportin is negatively associated with serum hepcidin (r = -0.617, p < 0.0001). In multivariate regression analysis, fasting glucose contributes independently to intestinal SLC40A1 (p = 0.009) and SLC11A2 (p = 0.04) variance after controlling for age, sex, and BMI. When circulating hepcidin is incorporated into the model, fasting glucose contributes significantly and independently to intestinal SLC40A1 (p = 0.02), but not to SLC11A2 (p = 0.07) variance. SLC46A1 and HMOX1 are similar in all groups. Conclusion: The expression of ferroportin and SLC11A2 is increased in the intestine of patients with T2D in association with iron stores and serum hepcidin levels. Increased intestinal iron absorption is a potential mechanism that could explain the increased body iron stores frequently observed in patients with T2D.