Iron homeostasis: fitting the puzzle pieces together.
ABSTRACT Here, recent insights into iron homeostasis are highlighted. Three studies demonstrate the importance of the IRE-IRP system for enterocytes in balancing extracellular iron demand against cellular iron requirements, show that the hemochromatosis protein HFE exerts its iron-regulatory activity principally in hepatocytes by modulating the production of hepcidin, and provide strong support for a proposed mechanism of transcriptional regulation of hepcidin through a signaling cascade initiated by holotransferrin displacing HFE from transferrin receptor 1.
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ABSTRACT: Mutations in the Hfe gene result in hereditary hemochromatosis (HH), a disorder characterized by increased duodenal iron absorption and tissue iron overload. Identification of a direct interaction between Hfe and transferrin receptor 1 in duodenal cells led to the hypothesis that the lack of functional Hfe in the duodenum affects TfR1-mediated serosal uptake of iron and misprogramming of the iron absorptive cells. Contrasting this view, Hfe deficiency causes inappropriately low expression of the hepatic iron hormone hepcidin, which causes increased duodenal iron absorption. We specifically ablated Hfe expression in mouse enterocytes using Cre/LoxP technology. Mice with efficient deletion of Hfe in crypt- and villi-enterocytes maintain physiologic iron metabolism with wild-type unsaturated iron binding capacity, hepatic iron levels, and hepcidin mRNA expression. Furthermore, the expression of genes encoding the major intestinal iron transporters is unchanged in duodenal Hfe-deficient mice. Our data demonstrate that intestinal Hfe is dispensable for the physiologic control of systemic iron homeostasis under steady state conditions. These findings exclude a primary role for duodenal Hfe in the pathogenesis of HH and support the model according to which Hfe is required for appropriate expression of the "iron hormone" hepcidin which then controls intestinal iron absorption.Blood 06/2007; 109(10):4511-7. · 9.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: 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.Journal of Clinical Investigation 08/2007; 117(7):1933-9. · 12.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Iron regulatory proteins (IRPs) orchestrate the posttranscriptional regulation of critical iron metabolism proteins at the cellular level. Redundancy between IRP1 and IRP2 associated with embryonic lethality of doubly IRP-deficient mice has precluded the study of IRP function in vivo. Here we use Cre/Lox technology to generate viable organisms lacking IRP expression in a single tissue, the intestine. Mice lacking intestinal IRP expression develop intestinal malabsorption and dehydration postnatally and die within 4 weeks of birth. We demonstrate that IRPs control the expression of divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) mRNA and protein, a limiting intestinal iron importer. IRPs are also shown to be critically important to secure physiological levels of the basolateral iron exporter ferroportin. IRPs are thus essential for intestinal function and organismal survival and coordinate the synthesis of key iron metabolism proteins in the duodenum.Cell Metabolism 02/2008; 7(1):79-85. · 14.62 Impact Factor