Iron deficiency alters dopamine uptake and response to L-DOPA injection in Sprague-Dawley rats

Laura E. Bianco, Jason Wiesinger, Christopher J. Earley, Byron C. Jones, John L. Beard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Iron deficiency (ID) disrupts brain dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) metabolism including functioning of monoamine transporters and receptors. We employed caudate microdialysis and no net flux (NNF) in post-weaning rats to determine if ID decreased the extraction fraction (Ed). Five micromolar quinpirole, a dopamine D2 receptor agonist, resulted in 80% decrease in extracellular DA and 45% higher Ed in control animals. The D2 agonist had no effect on Ed in ID animals despite a reduction in basal DA. DAT mRNA levels were reduced by 58% with ID, while DAT protein in ventral midbrain and caudate and membrane associated DAT were also reduced by ID. Carbidopa/l-DOPA was administered to determine if elevated extracellular DA in ID was due to increased release. The DA response to l-DOPA in ID rats was 50% smaller and delayed, whereas the NE response was threefold higher. The caudate concentration of NE was also elevated in ID. Elevated dopamine-β-hydroxylase activity in ID provides a tentative explanation for the increased NE response to l-DOPA. These experiments provide new evidence that ID results in altered synthesis and functioning of DAT and perhaps suggests some compensatory changes in NE metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-215
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Brain iron
  • Dopamine
  • Dopamine transporter
  • Iron deficiency
  • L-DOPA
  • Microdialysis
  • Norepinephrine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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