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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Iron status in mice carrying a targeted disruption of lactoferrin.

Lactoferrin is a member of the transferrin family of iron-binding glycoproteins present in milk, mucosal secretions, and the secondary granules of neutrophils. While several physiological functions have been proposed for lactoferrin, including the regulation of intestinal iron uptake, the exact function of this protein in vivo remains to be established. To directly assess the physiological functions of lactoferrin, we have generated lactoferrin knockout (LFKO(-/-)) mice by homologous gene targeting. LFKO(-/-) mice are viable and fertile, develop normally, and display no overt abnormalities. A comparison of the iron status of suckling offspring from LFKO(-/-) intercrosses and from wild-type (WT) intercrosses showed that lactoferrin is not essential for iron delivery during the postnatal period. Further, analysis of adult mice on a basal or a high-iron diet revealed no differences in transferrin saturation or tissue iron stores between WT and LFKO(-/-) mice on either diet, although the serum iron levels were slightly elevated in LFKO-/- mice on the basal diet. Consistent with the relatively normal iron status, in situ hybridization analysis demonstrated that lactoferrin is not expressed in the postnatal or adult intestine. Collectively, these results support the conclusion that lactoferrin does not play a major role in the regulation of iron homeostasis.[1]


  1. Iron status in mice carrying a targeted disruption of lactoferrin. Ward, P.P., Mendoza-Meneses, M., Cunningham, G.A., Conneely, O.M. Mol. Cell. Biol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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