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Open Access Systemic Iron Deficiency in a Nonhuman Primate Model of Endometriosis

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Endometriosis is characterized by endometrial tissue development outside the uterus. Anemia and iron depletion do not commonly accompany endometriosis in women, despite chronic abdominal inflammation and heavy menstrual bleeding. The objective of this study was to examine iron kinetics associated with endometriosis by using a NHP model, to better understand the underlying mechanism of abnormal hematogram values in women with endometriosis. Hematologic data from 46 macaques with endometriosis were examined for signs of iron depletion. Bone marrow, liver, and serum were used to elucidate whether iron loss or inflammation best explained the hematologic findings. Additional serum markers and intestinal biopsies from NHP with and without endometriosis were evaluated for patterns in iron kinetics across the menstrual cycle and for relative dietary iron-absorbing capacity. Almost half of the NHP with endometriosis were anemic. Overall, NHP had decreased RBC counts, increased MCV, increased percentage of reticulocytes, decreased serum hepcidin, and decreased hepatic and bone marrow iron. Intestinal expression of ferroportin 1, a mediator of iron absorption, was increased, indicating that despite high dietary iron, intestinal iron absorption did not compensate for iron losses. We concluded that use of oral iron supplementation alone does not replenish iron stores in endometriosis. Consequently, iron stores should be evaluated in women with endometriosis, even without overt clinical signs of anemia.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Pathology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 2: Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 3: Departments of Pathology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: August 1, 2018

This article was made available online on June 5, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Systemic Iron Deficiency in a Nonhuman Primate Model of Endometriosis".

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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