Hepcidin

Expert comment: Professor Jorge Toblli

"This interesting study emphasises the concept that chronic inflammation is associated with an increase in serum hepcidin, thus contributing to poor intestinal iron absorption. The authors report that H. pylori infection upregulates serum hepcidin levels and was associated with diminished response to oral iron therapy in children with iron-deficiency anemia."

Study summary

This article highlights the importance of the relationship between serum hepcidin and iron deposition in the brain of patients with HBV-related cirrhosis. The study is based on a group of HBV-related cirrhotic patients and age- and sex-matched healthy controls.  The evaluation of brain iron content was conducted by susceptibility weighted phase imaging technique.

Hepcidin and iron stores decrease significantly during long-term running training in female athletes and do not recover within ten days, regardless of baseline iron status, according to a recent study. The findings stress the importance of iron status for female athletes, and may help to improve our understanding of conditions associated with disturbed iron homeostatsis, such as anaemia and iron deficiency.

A review exploring the role of iron in the onset and progression of cancer has suggested that a greater understanding of the hepcidin–ferroportin system may lead to the identification of novel treatment targets for cancer patients.

Iron is essential for many physiological functions, and cancer-related deficiency leading to anaemia decreases patient performance status and quality of life, and can also negatively affect overall patient outcomes. Besides being a crucial stimulus for cancer proliferation, iron dysfunction may also originate new tumours.

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