November 12, 2004

Title: Hepcidin, a new hormone at the interface of immunity and iron metabolism

Dr. Thomas Ganz

Department of Medicine
UCLA Medical School

Abstract: Microbial growth is limited by the availability of iron. As part of the early response to infection, humans and other animals rapidly lower iron concentrations in blood and tissues. We identified a new hormone, hepcidin, which is regulates the absorption of iron from food and determines the distribution of iron within tissues. During infections, hepcidin is rapidly induced by the cytokine IL-6, causing a drop in blood iron concentration. Hepcidin does this by binding to the cellular iron exporter ferroportin, causing its internalization and preventing the export of iron into blood from liver cells and other cells that store iron.  Genetic disorders that decrease hepcidin production result in excessive absorption of iron from diet, a condition known as hemochromatosis.



Ganz T. Hepcidin in iron metabolism. Curr Opin Hematol. 2004 Jul;11(4):251-4.

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