Unexpected role of ceruloplasmin in intestinal iron absorption

Srujana Cherukuri, Ramesh Potla, Joydeep Sarkar, Saul Nurko, Z. Leah Harris, Paul L. Fox*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Ferroxidases are essential for normal iron homeostasis in most organisms. The paralogous vertebrate ferroxidases ceruloplasmin (Cp) and hephaestin (Heph) are considered to have nonidentical functions in iron transport: plasma Cp drives iron transport from tissue stores while intestinal Heph facilitates iron absorption from the intestinal lumen. To clarify the function of Cp, we acutely bled Cp-/- mice to stress iron homeostasis pathways. Red cell hemoglobin recovery was defective in stressed Cp-/- mice, consistent with low iron availability. Contrary to expectations, iron was freely released from spleen and liver stores in Cp-/- mice, but intestinal iron absorption was markedly impaired. Phlebotomy of wild-type mice caused a striking shift of Cp from the duodenal epithelium to the underlying lamina propria, suggesting a critical function of Cp in basolateral iron transport. Regulated relocalization of intestinal Cp may represent a fail-safe mechanism in which Cp shares with Heph responsibility for iron absorption under stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-319
Number of pages11
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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