The present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of iron dextran treatment on polyamine oxidase (PAO) activity, iron accumulation, and lipid peroxidation in livers and hearts of rats. PAO catalyzes oxidative deamination of polyamines, the cellular aliphatic cations. This reaction produces highly toxic hydrogen peroxide, 3-acetamidopropanal, and precursors of higher polyamines. The rats were given iron dextran daily for 7 d. In iron-dextran-treated rats, a marked increase in the hepatic level of iron was associated with enhanced lipid peroxidation and increased PAO activity. Though iron accumulation and lipid peroxidation in the iron-treated rats increased significantly in the heart, PAO activity remained unchanged. The paraffin sections of livers stained with Perls iron stain showed the presence of iron in macrophages and hepatocytes. The sections of hearts showed iron deposits only in macrophages, while myocytes showed no iron staining. These results show that although iron dextran treatment results in accumulation of iron in both liver and heart, it induces PAO activity only in liver. The significance of increased PAO activity in lipid peroxidation and fibrosis in iron-mediated injury is discussed.
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