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Using the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus) as an in vivo model for iron bioavailability

Tako, E., Rutzke, M.A., Glahn, R.P.
Poultry science 2010 v.89 no.3 pp. 514
broiler chickens, broiler feeding, in vivo studies, iron, dietary minerals, nutrient availability, fortified foods, food fortification, animal models, hemoglobin, duodenum, methodology, feed intake, body weight, blood chemistry, ascorbic acid, mass spectrometry, transport proteins, enterocytes, brush border membrane vesicles, cytochrome b, oxidoreductases, nutrient deficiencies
Iron fortification of foods and biofortification of staple food crops are strategies that can help to alleviate Fe deficiency. The broiler chicken may be a useful model for initial in vivo screening of Fe bioavailability in foods due to its growth rate, anatomy, size, and low cost. In this study, we assess the broiler as a model for hemoglobin (Hb) maintenance studies and present a unique duodenal loop technique for direct measurement of intestinal Fe absorption. One-week-old chicks were allocated into Fe-deficient versus Fe-adequate treatment groups. For 6 wk, blood Hb, feed consumption, and BW were measured. At wk 7, birds were anesthetized and their duodenal loops were exposed. The loop was isolated and a nonocclusive catheter was inserted into the duodenal vein for blood sampling. A stable isotope solution containing ⁵⁸Fe (1 mg of Fe in 10 mM ascorbic acid) was injected into the loop. Blood samples were collected every 5 min and for 120 min postinjection and analyzed by inductively coupled argon-plasma mass spectrometry for ⁵⁸Fe concentrations. In the low-Fe group, Hb concentrations, total body Hb Fe, and BW were lower and Hb maintenance efficiency (indicator for dietary Fe availability) was higher than in the high-Fe group (P < 0.05). Iron absorption was higher in the Fe-deficient birds (P < 0.05). In addition, expression of proteins involved in Fe uptake and transfer [i.e., divalent metal transporter 1 (Fe uptake transporter), ferroportin (involved in Fe transport across the enterocyte), and duodenal cytochrome B reductase (reduces Fe at brush border membrane)] were elevated in the low-Fe group. These results indicate that this model exhibits the appropriate responses to Fe deficiency and has potential to serve as a model for Fe bioavailability. Such a model should be most useful as an intermediate test of in vivo Fe bioavailability observations in preparation for subsequent human studies.