How does heme iron enter cells?

Updated: Aug 04, 2019
  • Author: James L Harper, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Heme enters the cell as an intact metalloporphyrin, presumably by a vesicular mechanism. It is degraded within the enterocyte by heme oxygenase with release of iron so that it traverses the basolateral cell membrane in competition with nonheme iron to bind transferrin in the plasma.


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