Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Identify How A Hormone Regulates Iron

Date:
October 29, 2004
Source:
University Of California Los Angeles
Summary:
A new UCLA and University of Utah study found how a hormone called hepcidin regulates the iron uptake from the diet and its distribution in the body. The study may help develop future treatments for chronic anemia and for diseases of iron overload, such as hemochromatosis.

A new UCLA and University of Utah study found how a hormone called hepcidin regulates the iron uptake from the diet and its distribution in the body. The study may help develop future treatments for chronic anemia and for diseases of iron overload, such as hemochromatosis.

Published online in the journal Science this week, researchers discovered that the hormone hepcidin controls ferroportin, an iron-transporting molecule on the surface of specific cells that contain iron. Hepcidin signals ferroportin not to release iron into the blood stream.

Researchers realized that if there isn't enough hepcidin to regulate ferroportin, too much iron is taken up from the digestive system into the body, which can lead to hemochromatosis, a major genetic disorder affecting about a million people in the United States.

"For the first time we understand what happens in the disease hemochromatosis," said Dr. Tomas Ganz, Ph.D., M.D., one of the study's principal investigators and professor of medicine and pathology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "We knew that ferroportin is necessary to help release iron into the bloodstream, but didn?t know that hepcidin directly regulates this activity."

Ganz adds that too much hepcidin present in the body -- which can occur in patients with infections or with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease -- often results in not enough iron released into the blood stream causing chronic anemia.

"We have defined how the hormone hepcidin regulates the accumulation of iron by the body," says Jerry Kaplan, Ph.D., one of the study's principal authors and a professor of pathology and assistant vice president for basic science at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. "This has implications for understanding both diseases that are caused by not enough iron and diseases that are caused by too much iron."

In a cell culture, researchers added hepcidin to cells and found that hepcidin attaches to ferroportin and causes ferroportin to be swallowed and destroyed by the cells. Without ferroportin on the surface to release the iron, the mineral remains trapped inside the cell.

"Our findings may lead to new interventions for specific diseases," said Dr. Elizabeta Nemeth, the study's first author and assistant research professor, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Our next step will be to look more closely at molecular interactions of hepcidin and ferroportin in order to be able to develop treatment drugs."

Nemeth says that a form of hepcidin may be developed that people with hemochromatosis could inject to help reduce the amount of iron taken up by the body - similar to the use of insulin to control the amount of sugar in the body. For patients with anemia associated with too much hepcidin, Ganz adds that development of drugs to block hepcidin from binding to ferroportin might help release more iron into the body.

Hemochromatosis is the most common genetic disease in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control. One in 100-200 people have a double mutation of a gene that puts them at risk for developing hemochromatosis, which causes an accumulation of excess iron in body tissues. Anemia of chronic disease is second only to iron-deficiency as a cause of anemia worldwide.

The National Institutes of Health funded the study. Other authors include: Marie S. Tuttle, Julie Powelson, Michael B. Vaughn and Diane McVey Ward from the Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Utah; and Adriana Donovan, Department of Hematology, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California Los Angeles. "Researchers Identify How A Hormone Regulates Iron." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041029101526.htm>.
University Of California Los Angeles. (2004, October 29). Researchers Identify How A Hormone Regulates Iron. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041029101526.htm
University Of California Los Angeles. "Researchers Identify How A Hormone Regulates Iron." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041029101526.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins