Iron deficiency alters expression of dopamine-related genes in the ventral midbrain in mice

L. C. Jellen, Lu Lu, X. Wang, E. L. Unger, C. J. Earley, R. P. Allen, Robert Williams, Byron Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A clear link exists between iron deficiency (ID) and nigrostriatal dopamine malfunction. This link appears to play an important role in at least restless legs syndrome (RLS) if not several other neurological diseases. Yet, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. The effects of ID on gene expression in the brain have not been studied extensively. Here, to better understand how exactly ID alters dopamine functioning, we investigated the effects of ID on gene expression in the brain, seeking to identify any potential transcription-based mechanisms. We used six strains of recombinant inbred mice (BXD type) known to differ in susceptibility to ID in the brain. Upon weaning, we subjected mice from each strain to either an iron-deficient or iron-adequate diet. After 100. days of dietary treatment, we measured the effects of ID on gene expression in the ventral midbrain, a region containing the substantia nigra. The substantia nigra is the base of the nigrostriatal dopamine pathway and a region particularly affected by iron loss in RLS. We screened for ID-induced changes in expression, including changes in that of both iron-regulating and dopamine-related genes. Results revealed a number of expression changes occurring in ID, with large strain-dependent differences in the genes involved and number of expression changes occurring. In terms of dopamine-related genes, results revealed ID-induced expression changes in three genes with direct ties to nigrostriatal dopamine functioning, two of which have never before been implicated in an iron-dopamine pathway. These were stromal cell-derived factor 1 (. Cxcl12, or SDF-1), a ferritin regulator and potent dopamine neuromodulator, and hemoglobin, beta adult chain 1 (. Hbb-b1), a gene recently shown to play a functional role in dopaminergic neurons. The extent of up-regulation of these genes varied by strain. This work not only demonstrates a wide genetic variation in the transcriptional response to ID in the brain, but also reveals two novel biochemical pathways by which iron may potentially alter dopamine function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroscience
Volume252
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2 2013

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Mesencephalon
Dopamine
Iron
Genes
Restless Legs Syndrome
Brain
Substantia Nigra
Gene Expression
Chemokine CXCL12
Inbred Strains Mice
Dopaminergic Neurons
Ferritins
Weaning
Neurotransmitter Agents

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

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Iron deficiency alters expression of dopamine-related genes in the ventral midbrain in mice. / Jellen, L. C.; Lu, Lu; Wang, X.; Unger, E. L.; Earley, C. J.; Allen, R. P.; Williams, Robert; Jones, Byron.

In: Neuroscience, Vol. 252, 02.11.2013, p. 13-23.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jellen, L. C. ; Lu, Lu ; Wang, X. ; Unger, E. L. ; Earley, C. J. ; Allen, R. P. ; Williams, Robert ; Jones, Byron. / Iron deficiency alters expression of dopamine-related genes in the ventral midbrain in mice. In: Neuroscience. 2013 ; Vol. 252. pp. 13-23.
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