Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Storage iron in `muscle'
  1. J. D. Torrance,
  2. R. W. Charlton,
  3. A. Schmaman,
  4. S. R. Lynch,
  5. T. H. Bothwell1
  1. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Iron and Red Cell Metabolism Group, University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, Johannesburg, South Africa
  2. South African Institute for Medical Research, Johannesburg, South Africa


    In Bantu subjects with iron overload iron is visible in skeletal muscle cells and in the tissue histiocytes which lie between these cells. In the present study the concentrations of `muscle' iron were measured chemically in subjects with varying hepatic storage iron concentrations. The results indicate that the concentrations of storage iron in `muscle' are much lower than those in the liver. However, the muscle mass is so large that the total amount of iron present is at least equal to that in the liver in subjects with normal body stores. The concentrations of iron in `muscle' are raised in subjects with iron overload but the degree to which they rise is far less than occurs in the liver; a thirtyfold increase in hepatic iron concentrations is associated with only a sixfold increase in `muscle' iron. Experiments in rats revealed that storage iron in `muscle' represents a relatively non-miscible pool which responds very little to acute changes in the iron environment.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


    • 1 Reprint requests should be addressed to Dr T. H. Bothwell, Department of Medicine, Medical School, Hospital Street, Johannesburg, South Africa.