Iron release from both human and horse spleen haemosiderin to desferrioxamine was substantially less than that released from ferritin samples. This finding contradicts a previous report [Kontoghiorges, Chambers & Hoffbrand (1987) Biochem. J. 241, 87-92]. Differences in phosphate content of cores and in core size between haemosiderin and ferritin did not account for the different iron-release rates. Iron released to acetate was found to stimulate lipid peroxidation in liposomes, whereas that released to stronger chelators such as citrate and desferal did not. Absorption spectra and gel-filtration studies suggest that the acetate-solubilized iron was in the form of low-molecular-mass (less than 5 kDa) ferrihydrite fragments.

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