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2.  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
3.  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
4.  Epithelial-mesenchymal transition mediated tumourigenesis in the gastrointestinal tract 
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a highly conserved process that has been well characterised in embryogenesis. Studies have shown that the aberrant activation of EMT in adult epithelia can promote tumour metastasis by repressing cell adhesion molecules, including epithelial (E)-cadherin. Reduced intracellular adhesion may allow tumour cells to disseminate and spread throughout the body. A number of transcription proteins of the Snail superfamily have been implicated in EMT. These proteins have been shown to be over-expressed in advanced gastrointestinal (GI) tumours including oesophageal adenocarcinomas, colorectal carcinomas, gastric and pancreatic cancers, with a concomitant reduction in the expression of E-cadherin. Regulators of EMT may provide novel clinical targets to detect GI cancers early, so that cancers previously associated with a poor prognosis such as pancreatic cancer can be diagnosed before they become inoperable. Furthermore, pharmacological therapies designed to inhibit these proteins will aim to prevent local and distant tumour invasion.
doi:10.3748/wjg.14.3792
PMCID: PMC2721434  PMID: 18609701
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Transcription proteins; E-cadherin; Gastrointestinal cancer
5.  Proteomic profiling of urine for the detection of colon cancer 
Proteome Science  2008;6:19.
Background
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer related death in the developed world. To date, no blood or stool biomarkers with both high sensitivity and specificity for potentially curable early stage disease have been validated for clinical use. SELDI and MALDI profiling are being used increasingly to search for biomarkers in both blood and urine. Both techniques provide information predominantly on the low molecular weight proteome (<15 kDa). There have been several reports that colorectal cancer is associated with changes in the serum proteome that are detectable by SELDI and we hypothesised that proteomic changes would also be detectable in urine.
Results
We collected urine from 67 patients with colorectal cancer and 72 non-cancer control subjects, diluted to a constant protein concentration and generated MALDI and SELDI spectra. The intensities of 19 peaks differed significantly between cancer and non-cancer patients by both t-tests and after adjusting for confounders using multiple linear regressions. Logistic regression classifiers based on peak intensities identified colorectal cancer with up to 78% sensitivity at 87% specificity. We identified and independently quantified 3 of the discriminatory peaks using synthetic stable isotope peptides (an 1885 Da fragment of fibrinogen and hepcidin-20) or ELISA (β2-microglobulin).
Conclusion
Changes in the urine proteome may aid in the early detection of colorectal cancer.
doi:10.1186/1477-5956-6-19
PMCID: PMC2440369  PMID: 18558005
6.  Increased hepcidin expression in colorectal carcinogenesis 
AIM: To investigate whether the iron stores regulator hepcidin is implicated in colon cancer-associated anaemia and whether it might have a role in colorectal carcinogenesis.
METHODS: Mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS and SELDI-TOF MS) was employed to measure hepcidin in urine collected from 56 patients with colorectal cancer. Quantitative Real Time RT-PCR was utilized to determine hepcidin mRNA expression in colorectal cancer tissue. Hepcidin cellular localization was determined using immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: We demonstrate that whilst urinary hepcidin expression was not correlated with anaemia it was positively associated with increasing T-stage of colorectal cancer (P < 0.05). Furthermore, we report that hepcidin mRNA is expressed in 34% of colorectal cancer tissue specimens and was correlated with ferroportin repression. This was supported by hepcidin immunoreactivity in colorectal cancer tissue.
CONCLUSION: We demonstrate that systemic hepcidin expression is unlikely to be the cause of the systemic anaemia associated with colorectal cancer. However, we demonstrate for the first time that hepcidin is expressed by colorectal cancer tissue and that this may represent a novel oncogenic signalling mechanism.
doi:10.3748/wjg.14.1339
PMCID: PMC2693679  PMID: 18322945
Iron; Hepcidin; Colon; Cancer; Anaemia; Mass spectrometry
7.  Overexpression of Slug is associated with malignant progression of esophageal adenocarcinoma 
AIM: To characterise expression of known E-cadherin repressors; Snail, Slug and Twist in the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma.
METHODS: E-cadherin, Slug, Snail and Twist mRNA expression in Barrett's metaplasia and esophageal adenocarcinoma specimens was examined by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Semi-quantitative immunohistochemistry was used to examine cellular localization and protein levels. The effect of Slug on epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers was examined by transfection of Slug into an adenocarcinoma line OE33.
RESULTS: Cellular localization of Slug in Barrett’s metaplasia was largely cytoplasmic whilst in adenocarcinoma it was nuclear. Semi-quantitative analysis indicated that Slug was more abundant in adenocarcinoma compared to matched Barrett's metaplastic specimens. Snail and Twist were expressed in adenocarcinoma but were cytoplasmic in location and not induced compared to Barrett's mucosa. These observations were supported by mRNA studies where only Slug mRNA was shown to be over-expressed in adenocarcinoma and inversely correlated to E-cadherin expression. Overexpression of Slug in OE33 mediated E-cadherin repression and induced the mesenchymal markers vimentin and fibronectin.
CONCLUSION: Progression to adenocarcinoma is associated with increased Slug expression and this may represent a mechanism of E-cadherin silencing.
doi:10.3748/wjg.14.1044
PMCID: PMC2689407  PMID: 18286686
Slug; Oesophagus; Cancer; Barrett’s metaplasia; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
8.  Mice lacking desmocollin 1 show epidermal fragility accompanied by barrier defects and abnormal differentiation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;155(5):821-832.
The desmosomal cadherin desmocollin (Dsc)1 is expressed in upper epidermis where strong adhesion is required. To investigate its role in vivo, we have genetically engineered mice with a targeted disruption in the Dsc1 gene. Soon after birth, null mice exhibit flaky skin and a striking punctate epidermal barrier defect. The epidermis is fragile, and acantholysis in the granular layer generates localized lesions, compromising skin barrier function. Neutrophils accumulate in the lesions and further degrade the tissue, causing sloughing (flaking) of lesional epidermis, but rapid wound healing prevents the formation of overt lesions. Null epidermis is hyperproliferative and overexpresses keratins 6 and 16, indicating abnormal differentiation. From 6 wk, null mice develop ulcerating lesions resembling chronic dermatitis. We speculate that ulceration occurs after acantholysis in the fragile epidermis because environmental insults are more stringent and wound healing is less rapid than in neonatal mice. This dermatitis is accompanied by localized hair loss associated with formation of utriculi and dermal cysts, denoting hair follicle degeneration. Possible resemblance of the lesions to human blistering diseases is discussed. These results show that Dsc1 is required for strong adhesion and barrier maintenance in epidermis and contributes to epidermal differentiation.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200105009
PMCID: PMC2150874  PMID: 11714727
desmosome; desmocollin; epidermis; epidermal barrier; null mutation

Results 1-8 (8)