Nuclear microscopy of rat colon epithelial cells
Using Nuclear microscopy, we have investigated iron distributions in the colons of Sprague Dawley rats, in order to elucidate heme uptake. Four groups of five Sprague Dawley rats (mean weight 180 g) were fed different purified diets containing either heme diet (2.5% w/w hemoglobin), high fat diet (HFD) (18% w/w fat, 1% w/w cholesterol), 'western' diet (combination of hemoglobin 2.5% and 18% fat, 1% cholesterol) or control diet (7% w/w fat). After 4 weeks, animals were sacrificed by exsanguination after anaesthesia. Thin sections of frozen colon tissue were taken, freeze dried and scanned using nuclear microscopy utilising the techniques PIXE, RBS and STIM. The new data acquisition system (IonDaq) developed in CIBA was used to obtain high resolution images and line scans were used to map the iron distributions across the colon boundaries. The nuclear microscope results indicate that when HFD is given in addition to heme, the iron content of the epithelial cells that line the colon decreases, and the zinc in the smooth muscle wall increases. This implies that the level of heme and fat in diet has an important role in colon health, possibly by influencing epithelial cells directly or changing luminal composition such as bacterial flora or levels of metabolites and cytotoxins.