Study of the Effects of Iron Levels on the Lungs at High Altitude

2014-08-27 03:20:17 | BioPortfolio


The study hypothesis is that body iron levels are important in determining the increase in lung blood pressure that occurs in response to low oxygen levels. The purpose of this study is to determine whether this is true at high altitude, where oxygen levels are low.


Pulmonary hypertensive disorders frequently complicate hypoxic lung disease and worsen patient survival. Hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension is also a major cause of morbidity at high altitude. Hypoxia causes pulmonary hypertension through hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction and vascular remodelling. These processes are thought to be regulated at least in part by the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) family of transcription factors, which coordinate intracellular responses to hypoxia throughout the body.

HIF is regulated through a cellular degradation process that requires iron as an obligate cofactor. In cultured cells HIF degradation is inhibited by reduction in iron (by chelation with desferrioxamine) and potentiated by iron supplementation. In humans, we have recently shown that, in laboratory experiments lasting 8 hours, acute iron supplementation blunts the pulmonary vascular response to hypoxia, while acute iron chelation with desferrioxamine enhances the response.

This suggests that iron may also affect the pulmonary artery pressure response to hypoxia over longer time periods. The purpose of this study is to investigate this link between iron and the pulmonary artery pressure response to hypoxia, through a study conducted at high altitude allowing concurrent exposure of larger numbers of participants to environmental hypoxia. We wish to explore the extent and the time-course of the effect of iron on pulmonary artery pressure. Cerro de Pascu (4,340 m) in Peru provides the unique ability to make rapid transitions from sea level to high altitude (6-8 hours by road), together with the requisite research facilities. Also, one part of this study involves recruitment of patients with chronic mountain sickness, of whom there are many living in Cerro de Pasco.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Basic Science


Pulmonary Hypertension


Iron sucrose, Normal saline, Venesection, Iron sucrose, Normal saline


Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia




University of Oxford

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:20:17-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

An excessive accumulation of iron in the body due to a greater than normal absorption of iron from the gastrointestinal tract or from parenteral injection. This may arise from idiopathic hemochromatosis, excessive iron intake, chronic alcoholism, certain types of refractory anemia, or transfusional hemosiderosis. (From Churchill's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 1989)

Iron or iron compounds used in foods or as food. Dietary iron is important in oxygen transport and the synthesis of the iron-porphyrin proteins hemoglobin, myoglobin, cytochromes, and cytochrome oxidase. Insufficient amounts of dietary iron can lead to iron-deficiency anemia.

A multifunctional iron-sulfur protein that is both an iron regulatory protein and cytoplasmic form of aconitate hydratase. It binds to iron regulatory elements found on mRNAs involved in iron metabolism and regulates their translation. Its rate of degradation is increased in the presence of IRON.

Anemia characterized by a decrease in the ratio of the weight of hemoglobin to the volume of the erythrocyte, i.e., the mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration is less than normal. The individual cells contain less hemoglobin than they could have under optimal conditions. Hypochromic anemia may be caused by iron deficiency from a low iron intake, diminished iron absorption, or excessive iron loss. It can also be caused by infections or other diseases, therapeutic drugs, lead poisoning, and other conditions. (Stedman, 25th ed; from Miale, Laboratory Medicine: Hematology, 6th ed, p393)

Sucrose present in the diet. It is added to food and drinks as a sweetener.

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