Effects of naturally occurring flavonoids on ferroportin expression in the spleen in iron deficiency anemia in vivo
Anemia due to iron deficiency is one of the unsolved issues around the globe for which oral iron supplementation is the common treatment. However, the consumption of complex diets plays an important role in modulating iron homeostasis. In this study, we aimed to examine the interaction of ubiquitous polyphenol, quercetin and related flavonoids with iron supplements in an animal model of iron deficiency anemia (IDA). Female weanling Sprague Dawley rats were kept on a low iron diet for 20 days to induce iron deficiency anemia followed with 50 mg kg−1 ferrous sulfate (FS) supplement combined in equal ratio with quercetin (Que), quercetagetin (Qtg), and patuletin (Pat) for 30 days. Besides evaluation of basic hematological parameters, we mainly investigated changes in expression of splenic ferroportin by immunohistochemistry. Our data indicate that each polyphenol shows different outcomes and regulates iron variably which might result from differences in their structures. However, the combination of various flavonoids and iron significantly increases hemoglobin, serum iron, splenic iron stores and ferroportin as compared to a model group. The QtgFS combination was found to show more control over blood parameters. Splenic iron stores achieved with the QueFS and QtgFS combinations were found to increase similarly to with FS alone. Ferroportin expression was increased as in the order QueFS < QtgFS < PatFS where quercetin showed comparatively strict control over ferroportin regulation when administered with FS compared to the other flavonoid iron combinations. This variation in regulation needs to be explained further. To conclude, different polyphenols regulate ferroportin expression and ultimately iron homeostasis differently and should be further evaluated for their effect on iron regulation.