Iron uptake by glial cells

Kenneth F. Swaiman, Valynda L. Machen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Dynamic studies of iron metabolism in brain are generally unavailable despite the fact that a number of neurologic conditions are associated with excessive accumulation of iron in central nervous tissue. Cortical non-neuronal (glial) cultures were prepared from fetal mouse brain. After 13 days the cultures were exposed to radiolabeled iron. Brisk and linear total iron uptake and ferritin iron uptake occurred over 4 hours. When methylamine or ammonium chloride was added, (both known inhibitors of transferrin iron release because of their lysosomotropic properties), total iron uptake was diminished. Further studies indicated that meth-ylamine inhibits glial cell ferritin iron incorporation. Glial cell iron transport is similar to previously reported neuronal cell iron transport (1) but glial cell iron uptake proceeds at a faster rate and is more susceptible to the inhibition of certain lysosomotropic agents. The data reinforces the likelihood that iron uptake by nervous tissues is transferrin-mediated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1635-1644
Number of pages10
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 1985


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