Correcting iron deficiency anemia with iron dextran alters the serum metabolomic profile of the infant Rhesus Monkey

Brian J. Sandri, Gabriele R. Lubach, Eric F. Lock, Pamela J. Kling, Michael K. Georgieff, Christopher L. Coe, Raghavendra B. Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: The effects of infantile iron deficiency anemia (IDA) extend beyond hematological indices and include short-and long-Term adverse effects on multiple cells and tissues. IDA is associated with an abnormal serum metabolomic profile, characterized by altered hepatic metabolism, lowered NAD flux, increased nucleoside levels, and a reduction in circulating dopamine levels. Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine whether the serum metabolomic profile is normalized after rapid correction of IDA using iron dextran injections. Methods: Blood was collected from iron-sufficient (IS; n = 10) and IDA (n = 12) rhesus infants at 6 months of age. IDA infants were then administered iron dextran and vitamin B via intramuscular injections at weekly intervals for 2 to 8 weeks. Their hematological and metabolomic statuses were evaluated following treatment and compared with baseline and a separate group of age-matched IS infants (n = 5). Results: Serum metabolomic profiles assessed at baseline and after treatment via HPLC/MS using isobaric standards identified 654 quantifiable metabolites. At baseline, 53 metabolites differed between IS and IDA infants. Iron treatment restored traditional hematological indices, including hemoglobin and mean corpuscular volume, into the normal range, but the metabolite profile in the IDA group after iron treatment was markedly altered, with 323 metabolites differentially expressed when compared with an infant's own baseline profile. Conclusions: Rapid correction of IDA with iron dextran resulted in extensive metabolic changes across biochemical pathways indexing the liver function, bile acid release, essential fatty acid production, nucleoside release, and several neurologically important metabolites. The results highlight the importance of a cautious approach when developing a route and regimen of iron repletion to treat infantile IDA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)915-923
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 6 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition.


  • infancy
  • iron deficiency anemia
  • liver metabolism
  • metabolomics
  • monkey
  • serum


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