Twenty-seven specimens of human tissue, obtained by operation, were tested to evaluate the theory that iron uptake by tissues from serum is greater when transferrin is nearly completely saturated than when the degree of saturation is normal.
Samples of each tissue were incubated in autologous serum so prepared that in one instance the transferrin was 50% saturated and in the second 90% saturated with iron containing 59Fe.
In all samples the uptake of iron was greater from the transferrin which was 90% saturated. The uptake by tissues of epithelial origin was significantly greater than that by non-epithelial tissues. Considerable variation in uptake was noted between samples of the same tissue from different individuals. The role of iron stores in the tissue and folic acid deficiency are discussed.
It is concluded that the degree of transferrin saturation is important in determining iron uptake by tissues, especially in those of epithelial origin, and that such uptake may be modified by tissue stores and folic acid deficiency.
It is felt that these factors are probably responsible for the extrahepatic parenchymal deposits of iron sometimes found in Bantu subjects with siderosis.
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