Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 158, Issue 1, pp 122–127 | Cite as

Effect of Calcium, Tannic Acid, Phytic Acid and Pectin over Iron Uptake in an In Vitro Caco-2 Cell Model

  • M. Andrews
  • L. Briones
  • A. Jaramillo
  • F. Pizarro
  • M. Arredondo


Calcium, phytic acid, polyphenols and fiber are major inhibitors of iron absorption and they could be found in excess in some diets, thereby altering or modifying the iron nutrition status. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of calcium, tannic acid, phytic acid, and pectin over iron uptake, using an in vitro model of epithelial cells (Caco-2 cell line). Caco-2 cells were incubated with iron (10–30 μM) with or without CaCl2 (500 and 1,000 μM) for 24 h. Then, cells were challenged with phytic acid (50–150 μM); pectin (50–150 nM) or tannic acid (100–500 μM) for another 24 h. Finally, 55Fe (10 μM) uptake was determined. Iron dialyzability was studied using an in vitro digestion method. Iron uptake in cells pre-incubated with 20 and 30 μM Fe was inhibited by CaCl2 (500 μM). Iron uptake decreased in cells cultured with tannic acid (300 μM) and CaCl2 (500–1,000 μM) (two-way ANOVA, p = 0.002). Phytic acid also decreased iron uptake mainly when cells were treated with CaCl2 (1,000 μM) (two-way ANOVA; p < 0.05). Pectin slightly decreased iron uptake (p = NS). Iron dialyzability decreased when iron was mixed with CaCl2 and phytic or tannic acid (T test p < 0.0001, for both) but not when mixed with pectin. Phytic acid combined with calcium is a strong iron uptake inhibitor. Pectin slightly decreased iron uptake with or without calcium. Tannic acid showed an unexpected behavior, inducing an increase on iron uptake, despite its low Fe dialyzability.


Iron uptake Iron dialyzability Calcium Tannic acid Pectin Phytic acid 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Andrews
    • 1
  • L. Briones
    • 1
  • A. Jaramillo
    • 1
  • F. Pizarro
    • 1
  • M. Arredondo
    • 1
  1. 1.Micronutrient Laboratory, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA)University of ChileMaculChile

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