Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism

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Transferrin Receptor 1 and Ferroportin Expression in the Full-Term Human Placenta and its Association with Maternal and Neonatal Iron Status: A Pilot Study

Background: Maternal iron deficiency negatively affects the iron status of the newborn and could have adverse effects during childhood and adult life, particularly on cognitive and productive processes. Because few studies have related the
level of iron receptor expression in the placenta with maternal and/or newborn iron status, the objective of this study was to evaluate the association between the iron statuses in the mother and the newborn and the expression of transferrin
receptor-1 (TfR1) and ferroportin (FPN) in the full-term human placenta.

Materials and methods: A pilot study, cross-sectional design, we selected full-term pregnant women based on their antepartum iron status: iron deficiency with anemia (IDA, n=5), iron deficiency without anemia (IDNA, n=9) and normal iron
status (NIS, control group, n=10). All newborns were delivered by caesarean section (between weeks 37 and 39 of pregnancy). Blood samples were taken from the newborn by umbilical vein sampling for serum ferritin measurements. The
expression of TfR1 and FPN in placental villous tissue and isolated trophoblast cells was evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and flow cytometry, respectively.

Results: The expression levels of TfR1 and FPN in villous tissue were significantly correlated, with no significant differences between groups. TfR1 and FPN expression was predominantly found in the apical membrane of the syncytiotrophoblast and villous stroma, respectively. Neonatal ferritin serum levels significantly correlated with FPN expression.

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