Influence of Iron Deficiency on Olfactory Behavior in Weanling Rats


Chronically high occupational exposure to airborne metals like iron can impair olfactory function, but little is known about how low iron status modifies olfactory behavior. To investigate the influence of body iron status, weanling rats were fed a diet with low iron content (4 - 7 ppm) to induce iron deficiency anemia and olfactory behavior was compared to control rats fed an isocaloric diet sufficient in iron (210 - 220 ppm). Iron-deficient rats had prolonged exploratory time for attractive odorants in behavioral olfactory habituation/dishabituation tests, olfactory preference tests and olfactory sensitivity tests compared with control rats. No significant differences were observed for aversive odorants between the two groups. These findings suggest that iron-dependent functions may be involved in controlling and processing of olfactory signal transduction via self and lateral inhibition such that odorant signal remains stronger for longer times prolonging exploratory activity on attractive odorants in the behavioral tests. These findings establish that iron deficiency can modify olfactory behavior.

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Ruvin Kumara, V. and Wessling-Resnick, M. (2012) Influence of Iron Deficiency on Olfactory Behavior in Weanling Rats. Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, 2, 167-175. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2012.22020.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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