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The latest translational study from the Lakhal-Littleton Lab  has just been published in the European Heart Journal. The study demonstrates that standard intravenous iron therapy in iron-deficient patients raises myocardial iron content rapidly and in a sustained manner, thorough direct uptake of non-transferrin bound iron from the circulation. The study's findings challenge the consensus that iron only becomes bioavailable for uptake by tissues after the IV iron complex has been metabolised by macrophages.

The study's findings have important clinical implications. Indeed, IV iron therapy is increasingly being adopted to treat iron deficiency across a broad range of chronic disorders. In some patient groups such as those with inflammatory bowel disease IBD or those on dialysis, IV iron therapy is used repeatedly to maintain serum iron markers within the 'normal' range. The study's finding that the iron taken up into the myocardium is not cleared highlights the potential for cumulative build-up of iron in the hearts of patients on long-term IV iron therapy. Cardiac iron build-up is known to be pathological and is indeed the cause of iron overload cardiomyopathy in patients with iron overload disorders.

The study's chief investigator, Professor Lakhal-Littleton said ‘This study is a prime example of why translational and mechanistic research should underpin the design of clinical trials’.

Read the full article here