Although iron deficiency continues to pose a problem for pregnant women and fetal development, an incomplete understanding of placental adaptation to limited iron availability has hindered efforts to identify optimal supplementation strategies. In this issue of the JCI, Sangkhae et al. used mouse models and human placentas to explore maternal, placental, and fetal responses to alterations in iron status during pregnancy. The authors identified molecular mechanisms that limit placental ability to upregulate iron transport in the setting of severe iron deficiency and explored a potential marker of placental maladaptation.
Nermi L. Parrow, Robert E. Fleming