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1.  Effect of tocilizumab on haematological markers implicates interleukin-6 signalling in the anaemia of rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(6):R204.
Introduction
Our objective was to determine the interrelationships of interleukin (IL)-6 receptor inhibition with haemoglobin, acute-phase reactants and iron metabolism markers (including hepcidin) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
Data of patients receiving tocilizumab or placebo in the MEASURE study were analysed. We investigated associations at baseline and during tocilizumab treatment among haemoglobin, parameters of haemoglobin and iron homeostasis [ferritin, total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), hepcidin, haptoglobin], IL-6 and acute-phase reactants [C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)] to identify statistical correlates of rise in haemoglobin level.
Results
At baseline, CRP and haptoglobin were inversely correlated (modestly) with haemoglobin levels. After treatment with tocilizumab, CRP, hepcidin, ferritin and haptoglobin levels fell alongside increases in TIBC and haemoglobin. The falls in CRP, hepcidin and haptoglobin levels in the first 2 weeks correlated with a week 12 rise in TIBC and haemoglobin.
Conclusions
Inflammatory anaemia improves in patients with RA treated with tocilizumab. This improvement correlates with the degree of suppression of systemic inflammation, reduction in hepcidin and haptoglobin and increase in iron-binding capacity. These clinical data provide evidence of a role for IL-6 signalling in the inflammatory anaemia of RA.
doi:10.1186/ar4397
PMCID: PMC3978585  PMID: 24295403
2.  Comparative evaluation of the effects of treatment with tocilizumab and TNF-α inhibitors on serum hepcidin, anemia response and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis patients 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(5):R141.
Introduction
Anemia of inflammation (AI) is a common complication of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and has a negative impact on RA symptoms and quality of life. Upregulation of hepcidin by inflammatory cytokines has been implicated in AI. In this study, we evaluated and compared the effects of IL-6 and TNF-α blocking therapies on anemia, disease activity, and iron-related parameters including serum hepcidin in RA patients.
Methods
Patients (n = 93) were treated with an anti-IL-6 receptor antibody (tocilizumab) or TNF-α inhibitors for 16 weeks. Major disease activity indicators and iron-related parameters including serum hepcidin-25 were monitored before and 2, 4, 8, and 16 weeks after the initiation of treatment. Effects of tocilizumab and infliximab (anti-TNF-α antibody) on cytokine-induced hepcidin expression in hepatoma cells were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR.
Results
Anemia at base line was present in 66% of patients. Baseline serum hepcidin-25 levels were correlated positively with serum ferritin, C-reactive protein (CRP), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels and Disease Activity Score 28 (DAS28). Significant improvements in anemia and disease activity, and reductions in serum hepcidin-25 levels were observed within 2 weeks in both groups, and these effects were more pronounced in the tocilizumab group than in the TNF-α inhibitors group. Serum hepcidin-25 reduction by the TNF-α inhibitor therapy was accompanied by a decrease in serum IL-6, suggesting that the effect of TNF-α on the induction of hepcidin-25 was indirect. In in vitro experiments, stimulation with the cytokine combination of IL-6+TNF-α induced weaker hepcidin expression than did with IL-6 alone, and this induction was completely suppressed by tocilizumab but not by infliximab.
Conclusions
Hepcidin-mediated iron metabolism may contribute to the pathogenesis of RA-related anemia. In our cohort, tocilizumab was more effective than TNF-α inhibitors for improving anemia and normalizing iron metabolism in RA patients by inhibiting hepcidin production.
doi:10.1186/ar4323
PMCID: PMC3978580  PMID: 24286116
3.  Serum Hepcidin Levels and Reticulocyte Hemoglobin Concentrations as Indicators of the Iron Status of Peritoneal Dialysis Patients 
Hepcidin is the key mediator of renal anemia, and reliable measurement of serum hepcidin levels has been made possible by the ProteinChip system. We therefore investigated the iron status and serum hepcidin levels of peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients who had not received frequent doses of an erythrocytosis-stimulating agent (ESA) and had not received iron therapy. In addition to the usual iron parameters, the iron status of erythrocytes can be determined by measuring reticulocyte hemoglobin (RET-He). The mean serum hepcidin level of the PD patients (n = 52) was 80.7 ng/mL. Their serum hepcidin levels were significantly positively correlated with their serum ferritin levels and transferrin saturation (TSAT) levels, but no correlations were found between their serum hepcidin levels and RET-He levels, thereby suggesting that hepcidin has no effect on the iron dynamics of reticulocytes. Since low serum levels of CRP and IL-6, biomarkers of inflammation, were not correlated with the serum hepcidin levels, there is likely to be a threshold for induction of hepcidin expression by inflammation.
doi:10.1155/2012/239476
PMCID: PMC3501962  PMID: 23193472
4.  Hepcidin Expression in Iron Overload Diseases Is Variably Modulated by Circulating Factors 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36425.
Hepcidin is a regulatory hormone that plays a major role in controlling body iron homeostasis. Circulating factors (holotransferrin, cytokines, erythroid regulators) might variably contribute to hepcidin modulation in different pathological conditions. There are few studies analysing the relationship between hepcidin transcript and related protein expression profiles in humans. Our aims were: a. to measure hepcidin expression at either hepatic, serum and urinary level in three paradigmatic iron overload conditions (hemochromatosis, thalassemia and dysmetabolic iron overload syndrome) and in controls; b. to measure mRNA hepcidin expression in two different hepatic cell lines (HepG2 and Huh-7) exposed to patients and controls sera to assess whether circulating factors could influence hepcidin transcription in different pathological conditions. Our findings suggest that hepcidin assays reflect hepatic hepcidin production, but also indicate that correlation is not ideal, likely due to methodological limits and to several post-trascriptional events. In vitro study showed that THAL sera down-regulated, HFE-HH and C-NAFLD sera up-regulated hepcidin synthesis. HAMP mRNA expression in Huh-7 cells exposed to sera form C-Donors, HFE-HH and THAL reproduced, at lower level, the results observed in HepG2, suggesting the important but not critical role of HFE in hepcidin regulation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036425
PMCID: PMC3346721  PMID: 22586470
5.  Tubular reabsorption and local production of urine hepcidin-25 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:70.
Background
Hepcidin is a central regulator of iron metabolism. Serum hepcidin levels are increased in patients with renal insufficiency, which may contribute to anemia. Urine hepcidin was found to be increased in some patients after cardiac surgery, and these patients were less likely to develop acute kidney injury. It has been suggested that urine hepcidin may protect by attenuating heme-mediated injury, but processes involved in urine hepcidin excretion are unknown.
Methods
To assess the role of tubular reabsorption we compared fractional excretion (FE) of hepcidin-25 with FE of β2-microglobulin (β2m) in 30 patients with various degrees of tubular impairment due to chronic renal disease. To prove that hepcidin is reabsorbed by the tubules in a megalin-dependent manner, we measured urine hepcidin-1 in wild-type and kidney specific megalin-deficient mice. Lastly, we evaluated FE of hepcidin-25 and β2m in 19 patients who underwent cardiopulmonary bypass surgery. Hepcidin was measured by a mass spectrometry assay (MS), whereas β2m was measured by ELISA.
Results
In patients with chronic renal disease, FE of hepcidin-25 was strongly correlated with FE of β2m (r = 0.93, P <0.01). In megalin-deficient mice, urine hepcidin-1 was 7-fold increased compared to wild-type mice (p < 0.01) indicating that proximal tubular reabsorption occurs in a megalin- dependent manner. Following cardiac surgery, FE of hepcidin-25 increased despite a decline in FE of β2m, potentially indicating local production at 12–24 hours.
Conclusions
Hepcidin-25 is reabsorbed by the renal tubules and increased urine hepcidin-25 levels may reflect a reduction in tubular uptake. Uncoupling of FE of hepcidin-25 and β2m in cardiac surgery patients suggests local production.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-70
PMCID: PMC3623618  PMID: 23531037
AKI; β2-microglobulin; Hepcidin; Megalin; Kidney tubules
6.  Iron status, inflammation and hepcidin in ESRD patients: The confounding role of intravenous iron therapy 
Indian Journal of Nephrology  2010;20(3):125-131.
Uremia is a state of heightened inflammatory activation. This might have an impact on several parameters including anemia management. Inflammation interferes with iron utilization in chronic kidney disease through hepcidin. We studied the body iron stores, degree of inflammatory activation, and pro-hepcidin levels in newly diagnosed patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and compared them with normal population. In addition to clinical examination and anthropometry, the levels of iron, ferritin, C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor alfa, interleukin-6, and prohepcidin were estimated. A total of 74 ESRD patients and 52 healthy controls were studied. The ESRD patients had a significantly lower estimated body fat percentage, muscle mass, and albumin; and higher transferrin saturation (TSAT) and raised serum ferritin. Inflammatory activation was evident in the ESRD group as shown by the significantly higher CRP, IL-6, and TNF-α levels. The pro-hepcidin levels were also increased in this group. Half of the ESRD patients had received parenteral iron before referral. Patients who had received intravenous iron showed higher iron, ferritin, and TSAT levels. These patients also showed more marked inflammatory activation, as shown by the significantly higher CRP, TNF-α, and IL-6 levels. We conclude that our ESRD patients showed marked inflammatory activation, which was more pronounced in patients who had received IV iron. High hepcidin levels could explain the functional iron deficiency. The cause of the relatively greater degree of inflammatory activation as well as the relationship with IV iron administration needs further studies.
doi:10.4103/0971-4065.70840
PMCID: PMC2966977  PMID: 21072151
Anemia; end-stage renal disease; hepcidin; inflammation; intravenous iron
7.  A Novel Immunological Assay for Hepcidin Quantification in Human Serum 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(2):e4581.
Background
Hepcidin is a 25-aminoacid cysteine-rich iron regulating peptide. Increased hepcidin concentrations lead to iron sequestration in macrophages, contributing to the pathogenesis of anaemia of chronic disease whereas decreased hepcidin is observed in iron deficiency and primary iron overload diseases such as hereditary hemochromatosis. Hepcidin quantification in human blood or urine may provide further insights for the pathogenesis of disorders of iron homeostasis and might prove a valuable tool for clinicians for the differential diagnosis of anaemia. This study describes a specific and non-operator demanding immunoassay for hepcidin quantification in human sera.
Methods and Findings
An ELISA assay was developed for measuring hepcidin serum concentration using a recombinant hepcidin25-His peptide and a polyclonal antibody against this peptide, which was able to identify native hepcidin. The ELISA assay had a detection range of 10–1500 µg/L and a detection limit of 5.4 µg/L. The intra- and interassay coefficients of variance ranged from 8–15% and 5–16%, respectively. Mean linearity and recovery were 101% and 107%, respectively. Mean hepcidin levels were significantly lower in 7 patients with juvenile hemochromatosis (12.8 µg/L) and 10 patients with iron deficiency anemia (15.7 µg/L) and higher in 7 patients with Hodgkin lymphoma (116.7 µg/L) compared to 32 age-matched healthy controls (42.7 µg/L).
Conclusions
We describe a new simple ELISA assay for measuring hepcidin in human serum with sufficient accuracy and reproducibility.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004581
PMCID: PMC2640459  PMID: 19238200
8.  Is iron overload in alcohol-related cirrhosis mediated by hepcidin? 
In this case report we describe the relationship between ferritin levels and hepcidin in a patient with alcohol-related spur cell anemia who underwent liver transplantation. We demonstrate a reciprocal relationship between serum or urinary hepcidin and serum ferritin, which indicates that inadequate hepcidin production by the diseased liver is associated with elevated serum ferritin. The ferritin level falls with increasing hepcidin production after transplantation. Neither inflammatory indices (IL6) nor erythropoietin appear to be related to hepcidin expression in this case. We suggest that inappropriately low hepcidin production by the cirrhotic liver may contribute substantially to elevated tissue iron stores in cirrhosis and speculate that hepcidin replacement in these patients may be of therapeutic benefit in the future.
doi:10.3748/wjg.15.5864
PMCID: PMC2791283  PMID: 19998511
Alcohol; Iron; Anaemia; Hepcidin; Cirrhosis
9.  Is hemojuvelin a possible new player in iron metabolism in hemodialysis patients? 
International Urology and Nephrology  2011;44(6):1805-1811.
Introduction
Hemojuvelin (HJV) is highly expressed in the liver, skeletal muscles, and heart, seems to play a role in iron absorption and release from cells, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, HJV plays an essential role in the regulation of hepcidin expression, specifically in the iron-sensing pathway. Hepcidin has emerged as a key regulator of iron homeostasis. In this study we tested for the first time the hypothesis that HJV is related to iron metabolism in hemodialysis (HD) patients.
Methods
Iron status, complete blood count, and serum creatinine, albumin, and lipids were assessed, using standard laboratory methods. Serum levels of soluble transferrin receptor (sTFR), high-sensitivity CRP, IL-6, hepcidin, and HJV were measured using commercially available kits.
Results
Serum HJV, hepcidin, ferritin, IL-6, hsCRP, and serum creatinine were significantly higher (all P < 0.001), whereas serum iron, sTFR, transferrin, hemoglobin, and erythrocyte count were significantly lower in HD patients, compared to healthy volunteers (all P < 0.001). In univariate analysis, HJV was strongly correlated (P < 0.001) with ferritin, transferrin saturation, and TIBC, as well as with hsCRP, hepcidin, Kt/V (P < 0.01) and residual renal function, the presence of diabetes, APKD, and coronary heart disease. Predictors of HJV level in multiple regression analysis were ferritin (beta value was 0.50, P = 0.00004) and transferrin saturation (beta value was 0.47, P = 0.0002), explaining 81% of the HJV variations.
Conclusions
Serum HJV is elevated in HD patients and related predominantly to kidney function and iron metabolism. However, HJV is probably not correlated to inflammation. HJV appears to be a new player in iron metabolism in these patients.
doi:10.1007/s11255-011-0084-x
PMCID: PMC3510395  PMID: 22130959
Iron metabolism; Hemodialysis; Inflammation; Hepcidin; Hemojuvelin
10.  Evaluation of the First Commercial Hepcidin ELISA for the Differential Diagnosis of Anemia of Chronic Disease and Iron Deficiency Anemia in Hospitalized Geriatric Patients 
ISRN Hematology  2012;2012:567491.
Introduction. Anemia is a frequent problem in hospitalized geriatric patients, and the anemia of chronic disease (ACD) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) are the 2 most prevalent causes. The aim of the study was to assess the possible role of serum hepcidin in the differential diagnosis between ACD and IDA. Methods. We investigated serum hepcidin, iron status, anemia, and C-reactive protein in 39 consecutive geriatric patients with ACD and IDA. Serum hepcidin levels were determined using a commercial ELISA kit (DRG Instruments, Marburg, Germany). We also measured hepcidin in 26 healthy controls. Results. The serum hepcidin levels were not significantly higher in the 28 patients with ACD as compared to the 11 patients with IDA. Conclusions. The serum hepcidin levels measured using the commercial ELISA kit (DRG) do not appear to increase in older patients with ACD. It should be noted that an assay-specific problem could explain our results.
doi:10.5402/2012/567491
PMCID: PMC3302103  PMID: 22461996
11.  SELDI-TOF-MS determination of hepcidin in clinical samples using stable isotope labelled hepcidin as an internal standard 
Proteome Science  2008;6:28.
Background
Hepcidin is a 25-residue peptide hormone crucial to iron homeostasis. It is essential to measure the concentration of hepcidin in cells, tissues and body fluids to understand its mechanisms and roles in physiology and pathophysiology. With a mass of 2791 Da hepcidin is readily detectable by mass spectrometry and LC-ESI, MALDI and SELDI have been used to estimate systemic hepcidin concentrations by analysing serum or urine. However, peak heights in mass spectra may not always reflect concentrations in samples due to competition during binding steps and variations in ionisation efficiency. Thus the purpose of this study was to develop a robust assay for measuring hepcidin using a stable isotope labelled hepcidin spiking approach in conjunction with SELDI-TOF-MS.
Results
We synthesised and re-folded hepcidin labelled with 13C/15N phenylalanine at position 9 to generate an internal standard for mass spectrometry experiments. This labelled hepcidin is 10 Daltons heavier than the endogenous peptides and does not overlap with the isotopic envelope of the endogenous hepcidin or other common peaks in human serum or urine mass spectra and can be distinguished in low resolution mass spectrometers. We report the validation of adding labelled hepcidin into serum followed by SELDI analysis to generate an improved assay for hepcidin.
Conclusion
We demonstrate that without utilising a spiking approach the hepcidin peak height in SELDI spectra gives a good indication of hepcidin concentration. However, a stable isotope labelled hepcidin spiking approach provides a more robust assay, measures the absolute concentration of hepcidin and should facilitate inter-laboratory hepcidin comparisons.
doi:10.1186/1477-5956-6-28
PMCID: PMC2571088  PMID: 18854031
12.  Serum hepcidin levels and iron parameters in children with iron deficiency 
The Korean Journal of Hematology  2012;47(4):286-292.
Background
Iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) are common nutritional disorders in children. Hepcidin, a peptide hormone produced in the liver, is a central regulator of systemic iron metabolism. We evaluated whether serum hepcidin levels can diagnose ID in children.
Methods
Sera from 59 children (23 males and 36 females; 5 months to 17 years) were analyzed for hepcidin-25 by ELISA. Patients were classified according to hemoglobin level and iron parameters as: IDA, (N=17), ID (N=18), and control (N=24).
Results
Serum hepcidin, ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), transferrin saturation, and hemoglobin levels differed significantly between groups (P<0.0001). Serum hepcidin and ferritin levels (mean±SD) were 2.01±2.30 and 7.00±7.86, 7.72±8.03 and 29.35±24.01, 16.71±14.74 and 46.40±43.57 ng/mL in the IDA, ID, and control groups, respectively. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for serum hepcidin as a predictor of ID was 0.852 (95% CI, 0.755-0.950). Hepcidin ≤6.895 ng/mL had a sensitivity of 79.2% and specificity of 82.8% for the diagnosis of ID. Serum hepcidin levels were significantly correlated with ferritin, transferrin saturation, and hemoglobin levels and significantly negatively correlated with sTfR level and total iron binding capacity (P<0.0001).
Conclusion
Serum hepcidin levels are significantly associated with iron status and can be a useful indicator of ID. Further studies are necessary to validate these findings and determine a reliable cutoff value in children.
doi:10.5045/kjh.2012.47.4.286
PMCID: PMC3538801  PMID: 23320008
Serum hepcidin; Iron deficiency; Children
13.  Iron Status and Systemic Inflammation, but Not Gut Inflammation, Strongly Predict Gender-Specific Concentrations of Serum Hepcidin in Infants in Rural Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57513.
Hepcidin regulation by competing stimuli such as infection and iron deficiency has not been studied in infants and it’s yet unknown whether hepcidin regulatory pathways are fully functional in infants. In this cross-sectional study including 339 Kenyan infants aged 6.0±1.1 months (mean±SD), we assessed serum hepcidin-25, biomarkers of iron status and inflammation, and fecal calprotectin. Prevalence of inflammation, anemia, and iron deficiency was 31%, 71%, 26%, respectively. Geometric mean (±SD) serum hepcidin was 6.0 (±3.4) ng/mL, and was significantly lower in males than females. Inflammation (C-reactive protein and interleukin-6) and iron status (serum ferritin, zinc protoporphyrin and soluble transferrin receptor) were significant predictors of serum hepcidin, explaining nearly 60% of its variance. There were small, but significant differences in serum hepcidin comparing iron deficient anemic (IDA) infants without inflammation to iron-deficient anemic infants with inflammation (1.2 (±4.9) vs. 3.4 (±4.9) ng/mL; P<0.001). Fecal calprotectin correlated with blood/mucus in the stool but not with hepcidin. Similarly, the gut-linked cytokines IL-12 and IL-17 did not correlate with hepcidin. We conclude that hepcidin regulatory pathways are already functional in infancy, but serum hepcidin alone may not clearly discriminate between iron-deficient anemic infants with and without infection. We propose gender-specific reference values for serum hepcidin in iron-replete infants without inflammation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057513
PMCID: PMC3583867  PMID: 23460869
14.  Should we reconsider iron administration based on prevailing ferritin and hepcidin concentrations? 
The results of recent randomized, controlled trials in patients with chronic kidney disease and anemia have suggested that hyporesponsiveness to erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESA) is a significant predictor of poor patient outcomes. Functional iron deficiency (FID) is the most common cause of suboptimal ESA response, and intravenous iron administration (IVFe) efficiently raises hemoglobin (Hb) concentrations even under the condition of FID. Consequently, renal anemia correction has conceptually shifted from ‘higher Hb values with high ESA doses’ to ‘prevention of ESA hyporesponsiveness with IVFe’. The discovery of hepcidin has profoundly changed our understanding of the place of FID in renal anemia therapy. Hepcidin reduces the abundance of iron transport proteins which facilitate iron absorption from the gut and iron mobilization from macrophages. Serum hepcidin is mainly modulated by iron stores, as is serum ferritin. High hepcidin or ferritin levels block intestinal iron absorption and iron recycling in macrophages and decrease iron availability for erythropoiesis, leading to FID. Iron administration, especially IVFe, increases hepcidin levels and concomitantly inhibits iron supply to erythroid cells. This in turn could lead to a vicious circle, exacerbating FID and increasing iron demand. Therefore, physicians should be cautious with unrestricted IVFe to chronic kidney disease patients with FID.
doi:10.1007/s10157-012-0694-3
PMCID: PMC3521641  PMID: 23053592
Hepcidin; Iron; Renal anemia; Erythropoiesis stimulating agents; Ferritin
15.  Hepcidin and iron status among pregnant women in Bangladesh 
Although hepcidin, a recently discovered peptide hormone, is considered a major regulator of iron metabolism and the anemia of chronic inflammation, its role in the anemia of pregnancy has not been characterized. Our objective was to characterize the role of hepcidin in the anemia of pregnancy. We examined the relationships between urinary hepcidin, iron status indicators, hemoglobin, erythropoietin, alpha-1 acid glycoprotein, and C-reactive protein in a cross-sectional study conducted among 149 pregnant rural Bangladeshi women in biospecimens obtained during home visits. Urinary hepcidin was measured using surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Urinary hepcidin, as log(intensity per mmol/L creatinine), was correlated with log ferritin (r = 0.33, p <0.001), the transferrin receptor index (r = −0.22, p = 0.007), and log alpha-1 acid glycoprotein (r = 0.20, p = 0.01), but not hemoglobin (r = 0.07, p= 0.40), log transferrin receptor (r = −0.07, p = 0.41), log erythropoietin (r = −0.01, p = 0.88) or log C-reactive protein (r = 0.06, p = 0.48). The strength of the relationship between hepcidin and ferritin was maintained in a multiple linear regression analyses after enhancing the sample with women selected for low iron stores (n = 41). Among pregnant women in a community-based study in rural Bangladesh, urinary hepcidin levels were related to iron status and AGP but not hemoglobin, erythropoietin, or C-reactive protein.
PMCID: PMC2789317  PMID: 18818166
anemia; hepcidin; inflammation; iron; pregnancy
16.  Obesity modulate serum hepcidin and treatment outcome of iron deficiency anemia in children: A case control study 
Background
Recently, hepcidin expression in adipose tissue has been described and shown to be increased in patients with severe obesity. We tried to assess the effect of obesity on hepcidin serum levels and treatment outcome of iron deficiency anemia in children.
Methods
This was a case control study included 70 children with iron deficiency anemia "IDA" (35 obese and 35 non-obese) and 30 healthy non-obese children with comparable age and sex(control group). Parameters of iron status (Serum iron, ferritin, transferrin, total iron binding capacity and transferrin saturation) and serum hepcidin levels were assessed initially and after 3 months of oral iron therapy for IDA.
Results
Compared to the control group, serum hepcidin was significantly lower in non-obese children with IDA(p < 0.01) and significantly higher in obese children with IDA (p < 0.01). Hepcidin increased significantly in non-obese children with IDA after 3 months of iron therapy (P < 0.01). On the other hand, obese children showed non-significant change in hepcidin level after iron therapy (p > 0.05). Although hepcidin showed significant positive correlations with Hb, serum iron and transferrin saturation in non-obese children with IDA, it showed significant negative correlations with Hb, serum iron and transferrin saturation in obese children with IDA (P < 0.05).
Conclusions
Obesity increased hepcidin levels and was associated with diminished response to oral iron therapy in childhood iron deficiency anemia.
doi:10.1186/1824-7288-37-34
PMCID: PMC3154149  PMID: 21771327
Obesity; Hepcidin; Iron deficiency; Children
17.  Targeting the Hepcidin-Ferroportin Axis in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Anemias 
Advances in Hematology  2009;2010:750643.
The hepatic peptide hormone hepcidin regulates dietary iron absorption, plasma iron concentrations, and tissue iron distribution. Hepcidin acts by causing the degradation of its receptor, the cellular iron exporter ferroportin. The loss of ferroportin decreases iron flow into plasma from absorptive enterocytes, from macrophages that recycle the iron of senescent erythrocytes, and from hepatocytes that store iron, thereby lowering plasma iron concentrations. Malfunctions of the hepcidin-ferroportin axis contribute to the pathogenesis of different anemias. Deficient production of hepcidin causes systemic iron overload in iron-loading anemias such as beta-thalassemia; whereas hepcidin excess contributes to the development of anemia in inflammatory disorders and chronic kidney disease, and may cause erythropoietin resistance. The diagnosis of different forms of anemia will be facilitated by improved hepcidin assays, and the treatment will be enhanced by the development of hepcidin agonists and antagonists.
doi:10.1155/2010/750643
PMCID: PMC2798567  PMID: 20066043
18.  Hepcidin in β-thalassemia 
Iron overload is the principal cause of morbidity and mortality in β-thalassemia with or without transfusion dependence. Iron homeostasis is regulated by the hepatic peptide hormone hepcidin. Hepcidin controls dietary iron absorption, plasma iron concentrations, and tissue iron distribution. Hepcidin deficiency is the main or contributing factor of iron overload in iron-loading anemias such as β-thalassemia. Hepcidin deficiency results from a strong suppressive effect of the high erythropoietic activity on hepcidin expression. Although in thalassemia major patients iron absorption contributes less to the total iron load than transfusions, in non-transfused thalassemia, low hepcidin and the consequent hyperabsorption of dietary iron is the major cause of systemic iron overload. Hepcidin diagnostics and future therapeutic agonists may help in management of patients with β-thalassemia.
doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05585.x
PMCID: PMC2924878  PMID: 20712769
hepcidin; β-thalassemia; iron overload
19.  Decreased serum prohepcidin concentration in patients with polycythemia vera*  
Objective: Iron deficiency is a common complication in patients with polycythemia vera (PV). Hepcidin is a principal regulator of iron homeostasis. The aim of our study was to assess prohepcidin, a hepcidin precursor, and other iron status parameters in the serum of PV patients. Methods: The study was performed in 60 patients (F/M 26/34) aged 38~84 (66±10) years. The control group consisted of 20 healthy volunteers, age and sex matched. The following parameters were determined in blood serum samples: prohepcidin concentration, iron content, unsaturated iron binding capacity (UIBC), total iron binding capacity (TIBC), transferrin saturation (TfS), and concentrations of ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR). Results: All PV patients showed significantly lower levels of prohepcidin, higher levels of sTfR and TIBC compared to the control group. 40% of the patients from the study group showed concentrations of ferritin below the normal range and significantly lower levels of serum iron and TfS, and significantly higher levels of sTfR, UIBC and TIBC in comparison with the rest of the study group. In this group of patients, prohepcidin concentrations were significantly lower than those in other patients. Conclusion: The results indicate that PV patients suffer from iron metabolism disorders. The decreased serum level of prohepcidin in PV patients may be a result of iron deficiency.
doi:10.1631/jzus.B0920217
PMCID: PMC2772882  PMID: 19882752
Polycythemia vera (PV); Iron metabolism; Prohepcidin; Hepcidin
20.  Decreased Serum Hepcidin Concentration Correlates with Brain Iron Deposition in Patients with HBV-Related Cirrhosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65551.
Purpose
Excessive brain iron accumulation contributes to cognitive impairments in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related cirrhotic patients. The underlying mechanism remains unclear. Hepcidin, a liver-produced, 25-aminoacid peptide, is the major regulator of systemic iron metabolism. Abnormal hepcidin level is a key factor in some body iron accumulation or deficiency disorders, especially in those associated with liver diseases. Our study was aimed to explore the relationship between brain iron content in patients with HBV-related cirrhosis and serum hepcidin level.
Methods
Seventy HBV-related cirrhotic patients and forty age- sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled. Brain iron content was quantified by susceptibility weighted phase imaging technique. Serum hepcidin as well as serum iron, serum transferrin, ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor, total iron binding capacity, and transferrin saturation were tested in thirty cirrhotic patients and nineteen healthy controls. Pearson correlation analysis was performed to investigate correlation between brain iron concentrations and serum hepcidin, or other iron parameters.
Results
Cirrhotic patients had increased brain iron accumulation compared to controls in the left red nuclear, the bilateral substantia nigra, the bilateral thalamus, the right caudate, and the right putamen. Cirrhotic patients had significantly decreased serum hepcidin concentration, as well as lower serum transferring level, lower total iron binding capacity and higher transferrin saturation, compared to controls. Serum hepcidin level negatively correlated with the iron content in the right caudate, while serum ferritin level positively correlated with the iron content in the bilateral putamen in cirrhotic patients.
Conclusions
Decreased serum hepcidin level correlated with excessive iron accumulation in the basal ganglia in HBV-related cirrhotic patients. Our results indicated that systemic iron overload underlined regional brain iron repletion. Serum hepcidin may be a clinical biomarker for brain iron deposition in cirrhotic patients, which may have therapeutic potential.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065551
PMCID: PMC3679136  PMID: 23776499
21.  A 3-Marker Index Improves the Identification of Iron Disorders in CKD Anaemia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e84144.
Background
Iron disorders are common and complex in chronic kidney disease (CKD). We sought to determine whether a 3-marker index would improve the classification of iron disorders in CKD anaemia.
Methods
We studied the association between Hb level and iron indexes combining 2 or 3 of the following markers: serum ferritin (<40 ng/mL), transferrin saturation (TSAT<20%) and total iron binding capacity (TIBC<50 µmol/L) in 1011 outpatients with non-dialysis CKD participating in the Nephrotest study. All had glomerular filtration rates measured (mGFR) by 51Cr-EDTA renal clearance; 199 also had hepcidin measures.
Results
The TSAT-TIBC-ferritin index explained Hb variation better than indexes combining TSAT-TIBC or ferritin-TSAT. It showed hypotransferrinaemia and non-inflammatory functional iron deficiency (ID) to be more common than either absolute or inflammatory ID: 20%, 19%, 6%, and 2%, respectively. Hb was lower in all abnormal, compared with normal, iron profiles, and decreased more when mGFR was below 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 (interaction p<0.0001). In patients with mGFR<30 mL/min/1.73 m2, the Hb decreases associated with hypotransferrinaemia, non-inflammatory functional ID, and absolute ID were 0.83±0.16 g/dL, 0.51±0.18 and 0.89±0.29, respectively. Compared with normal iron profiles, hepcidin was severely depressed in absolute ID but higher in hypotransferrinaemia.
Conclusions
The combined TSAT-TIBC-ferritin index identifies hypotransferrinaemia and non-inflammatory functional ID as the major mechanisms of iron disorders in CKD anaemia. Both disorders were associated with a greater decrease in Hb when mGFR was <30 mL/min/1.73 m2. Taking these iron profiles into account may be useful in stratifying patients in clinical trials of CKD anaemia and might improve the management of iron therapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084144
PMCID: PMC3929276  PMID: 24586229
22.  Modulation of bone morphogenetic protein signaling in vivo regulates systemic iron balance 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2007;117(7):1933-1939.
Systemic iron balance is regulated by hepcidin, a peptide hormone secreted by the liver. By decreasing cell surface expression of the iron exporter ferroportin, hepcidin decreases iron absorption from the intestine and iron release from reticuloendothelial stores. Hepcidin excess has been implicated in the pathogenesis of anemia of chronic disease, while hepcidin deficiency has a key role in the pathogenesis of the iron overload disorder hemochromatosis. We have recently shown that hemojuvelin is a coreceptor for bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling and that BMP signaling positively regulates hepcidin expression in liver cells in vitro. Here we show that BMP-2 administration increases hepcidin expression and decreases serum iron levels in vivo. We also show that soluble hemojuvelin (HJV.Fc) selectively inhibits BMP induction of hepcidin expression in vitro and that administration of HJV.Fc decreases hepcidin expression, increases ferroportin expression, mobilizes splenic iron stores, and increases serum iron levels in vivo. These data support a role for modulators of the BMP signaling pathway in treating diseases of iron overload and anemia of chronic disease.
doi:10.1172/JCI31342
PMCID: PMC1904317  PMID: 17607365
23.  Intracellular Iron Transport and Storage: From Molecular Mechanisms to Health Implications 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2008;10(6):997-1030.
Abstract
Maintenance of proper “labile iron” levels is a critical component in preserving homeostasis. Iron is a vital element that is a constituent of a number of important macromolecules, including those involved in energy production, respiration, DNA synthesis, and metabolism; however, excess “labile iron” is potentially detrimental to the cell or organism or both because of its propensity to participate in oxidation–reduction reactions that generate harmful free radicals. Because of this dual nature, elaborate systems tightly control the concentration of available iron. Perturbation of normal physiologic iron concentrations may be both a cause and a consequence of cellular damage and disease states. This review highlights the molecular mechanisms responsible for regulation of iron absorption, transport, and storage through the roles of key regulatory proteins, including ferroportin, hepcidin, ferritin, and frataxin. In addition, we present an overview of the relation between iron regulation and oxidative stress and we discuss the role of functional iron overload in the pathogenesis of hemochromatosis, neurodegeneration, and inflammation. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 10, 997–1030.
Introduction
Iron Transport
Nonintestinal iron transport by transferring
Iron-bound transferrin binds the transferrin receptor for cellular iron uptake
Regulation of transferrin receptor 1 by iron regulatory element–iron regulatory protein system
Transcriptional regulation of transferrin receptor 1
Differential regulation of transferrin receptor 1 and transferrin receptor 2
Transferrin receptor 1 is regulated by hereditary hemochromatosis protein
Transferrin-independent cellular iron uptake
Intestinal iron absorption
Regulation of divalent metal transporter 1
Ferroportin is responsible for cellular iron efflux
Ferroportin associates and cooperates with ceruloplasmin
Ferroportin and hephaestin cooperate in iron efflux from intestinal cells
Hepcidin
Iron Storage and Ferritin
Structure, tissue distribution, and importance of cytoplasmic ferritin
Iron efflux and ferritin degradation
Serum ferritin and ferritin receptor
Mitochondrial ferritin
Nuclear ferritin
Regulation of Ferritin
Iron-mediated ferritin regulation
Ferritin regulation by reactive oxygen species
Ferritin transcriptional regulation by cytokines
Ferritin regulation in erythroleukemic cells
Frataxin and Iron Homeostasis
Frataxin and Friedreich ataxia
Frataxin and mitochondrial iron traffic
Frataxin, heme synthesis, and iron–sulfur cluster biogenesis
Frataxin gene regulation
Treatments
Functional Iron Overload and Human Health
Hereditary hemochromatosis
Mutant iron-responsive element-mediated iron overload
Iron regulation and neurodegeneration
Conclusions and Future Directions
doi:10.1089/ars.2007.1893
PMCID: PMC2932529  PMID: 18327971
24.  Low Hepcidin Levels in Severely Anemic Malawian Children with High Incidence of Infectious Diseases and Bone Marrow Iron Deficiency 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e78964.
Introduction
A reliable diagnostic biomarker of iron status is required for severely anemic children living in malarious areas because presumptive treatment with iron may increase their infection risk if they are not iron deficient. Current biomarkers are limited because they are altered by host inflammation. In this study hepcidin concentrations were assessed in severely anemic children living in a highly malarious area of Malawi and evaluated against bone marrow iron in order to determine the usefulness of hepcidin as a point of care test.
Methods
207 severely anemic children were assessed for levels of hepcidin, ferritin, serum transferrin receptor, erythropoietin, hematological indices, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, malaria parasites and HIV infection. Deficiency of bone marrow iron stores was graded and erythroblast iron incorporation estimated. Interaction of covariates was assessed by structural-equation-modeling.
Results and Conclusion
Hepcidin was a poor predictor of bone marrow iron deficiency (sensitivity 66.7%; specificity 48.5%), and of iron incorporation (sensitivity 54.2%; specificity 61.8%), and therefore would have limitations as a point of care test in this category of children. As upregulation of hepcidin by inflammation and iron status was blunted by erythropoietin in this population, enhanced iron absorption through the low hepcidin values may increase infection risk. Current recommendations to treat all severely anemic children living in malarious areas with iron should therefore be reconsidered.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078964
PMCID: PMC3855157  PMID: 24339866
25.  Hepcidin in anemia of chronic heart failure 
American journal of hematology  2011;86(1):107-109.
Anemia is a common finding among patients with chronic heart failure. Although co-morbidities, such as kidney failure, might contribute to the pathogenesis of anemia, many patients with heart failure do not have any other obvious etiology for their anemia. We investigated whether anemia in heart failure is associated with an elevation in hepcidin concentration.
We used time-of-flight mass spectrometry to measure hepcidin concentration in urine and serum samples of patients with heart failure and in control subjects. We found that the concentration of hepcidin was lower in urine samples of patients with heart failure compared to those of control subjects. Serum hepcidin was also reduced in heart failure but was not significantly lower than that in controls. There were no significant differences between hepcidin levels in patients with heart failure and anemia compared to patients with heart failure and normal hemoglobin. We concluded that hepcidin probably does not play a major role in pathogenesis of anemia in patients with chronic heart failure.
doi:10.1002/ajh.21902
PMCID: PMC3076004  PMID: 21080339
Anemias; Cytokines; Iron

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