[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/211940]
Brief description Within Australia 1 in 300 people of Caucasian origin have a genetic defect which makes them absorb more iron from the diet than they need. Excess iron is a major problem because it damages cells and this is most obvious in the pancreas where the cells make insulin are destroyed and diabetes mellitus develop. In the liver cirrhosis and cancer often occur. Iron also accumulates in other tissues such as the heart and joints resulting in damage to these organs. The genetic defect has recently been identified but how the defective protein causes the cells of the intestine to absorb more iron into the body than is needed remains unknown. This has led to the idea that the normal protein is responsible for controlling the amount of iron absorbed. Recent studies have shown a link between this protein and another called transferrin receptor. These two molecules are thought to co-operate in determining how much iron will be absorbed. Once this is determined other molecules called iron transporters are produced and these are responsible for moving the iron from the intestine into the blood. When not much iron is required only a small number of transporters are made and when more iron is required then many more are produced. How these transporters program the level of iron absorption is unknown but the process probably involves the transferrin receptor and the hemochromatosis protein. This project will investigate the function of the molecules that determine the programe for how much iron is to be absorbed, and secondly how this is linked to the production and movement of the transproters that co-ordinate this function.
Funding Amount $AUD 195,990.00
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
Standard Project Grant