BETHESDA, Md. (Oct. 3, 2005) Multi-vitamin products, nutritional supplements and parents tout the need for such mineral elements as calcium, zinc, phosphorus, iron and others.
Iron, for example, is a nutritional prerequisite to power life itself. When blood doesn't get enough iron from the gut, we become anemic. One of the body's coping mechanisms is to produce more of a protein called divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) in the gastrointestinal lining cells to bring into the body as much iron as possible. Until recently DMT1 was exclusively studied for its nutritional role in transporting iron.
But put iron or other air-borne particulates into our lungs and they can cause health problems ranging from asthma and acute respiratory distress syndrome to asbestosis and lung cancer.
In a recently-published paper a group of EPA-led lung researchers reported experiments demonstrating for the first time that "DMT1 is essential for the transport and detoxification of some metals associated with an air pollution particle that damages the pulmonary epithelial surface."
The paper "Divalent metal transporter-1 decreases metal-related injury in the lung" appears in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society. Research was performed by Andrew J. Ghio, Lisa A. Dailey, Jacqueline D. Stonehuerner and Michael C. Madden from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Claude A. Piantadosi of Duke University; Xinchao Wang of University of North Carolina; Funmei Yang of University of Texas; and Kevin G. Dolan, Michael D. Garrick and Laura M. Garrick of SUNY-Buffalo.
Lead researcher Andrew Ghio said this breakthrough discovery of DMT1 lung protection could prompt studies of its roles in other organs where it's found. "For instance, DMT1 is in the liver, kidneys and brain, where it's not needed f