Hepcidin mediates hypoferremia and reduces the growth potential of bacteria in the immediate post-natal period in human neonates.
ABSTRACT: Septicemia is a leading cause of death among neonates in low-income settings, a situation that is deteriorating due to high levels of antimicrobial resistance. Novel interventions are urgently needed. Iron stimulates the growth of most bacteria and hypoferremia induced by the acute phase response is a key element of innate immunity. Cord blood, which has high levels of hemoglobin, iron and transferrin saturation, has hitherto been used as a proxy for the iron status of neonates. We investigated hepcidin-mediated redistribution of iron in the immediate post-natal period and tested the effect of the observed hypoferremia on the growth of pathogens frequently associated with neonatal sepsis. Healthy, vaginally delivered neonates were enrolled in a cohort study at a single center in rural Gambia (N?=?120). Cord blood and two further blood samples up to 96?hours of age were analyzed for markers of iron metabolism. Samples pooled by transferrin saturation were used to conduct ex-vivo growth assays with Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae, Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia. A profound reduction in transferrin saturation occurred within the first 12?h of life, from high mean levels in cord blood (47.6% (95% CI 43.7-51.5%)) to levels at the lower end of the normal reference range by 24?h of age (24.4% (21.2-27.6%)). These levels remained suppressed to 48?h of age with some recovery by 96?h. Reductions in serum iron were associated with high hepcidin and IL-6 levels. Ex-vivo growth of all sentinel pathogens was strongly associated with serum transferrin saturation. These results suggest the possibility that the hypoferremia could be augmented (e.g. by mini-hepcidins) as a novel therapeutic option that would not be vulnerable to antimicrobial resistance. Trial registration: The original trial in which this study was nested is registered at ISRCTN, number 93854442.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Neonates, particularly those born preterm (PTB) and with low birthweight (LBW), are especially susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections that cause an estimated 225,000 deaths annually. Iron is a vital nutrient for the most common organisms causing septicaemia. Full-term babies elicit an immediate postnatal hypoferremia assumed to have evolved as an innate defence. We tested whether PTB and LBW babies are capable of the same response. METHODS:We conducted an observational study of 152 babies who were either PTB (born ?32 to <37 weeks gestational age) and/or LBW (<2500 g) (PTB/LBW) and 278 term, normal-weight babies (FTB/NBW). Blood was sampled from the umbilical cord vein and artery, and matched venous blood samples were taken from all neonates between 6-24 h after delivery. We measured haematological, iron and inflammatory markers. FINDINGS:In both PTB/LBW and FTB/NBW babies, serum iron decreased 3-fold within 12 h of delivery compared to umbilical blood (7·5 ± 4·5 vs 23·3 ± 7·1 ng/ml, P < 0·001, n = 425). Transferrin saturation showed a similar decline with a consequent increase in unsaturated iron-binding capacity. C-reactive protein levels increased over 10-fold (P < 0·001) and hepcidin levels doubled (P < 0·001). There was no difference in any of these responses between PTB/LBW and FTB/NBW babies. INTERPRETATION:Premature or low birthweight babies are able to mount a very rapid hypoferremia that is indistinguishable from that in normal term babies. The data suggest that this is a hepcidin-mediated response triggered by acute inflammation at birth, and likely to have evolved as an innate immune response against bacterial and fungal septicaemia. TRIAL REGISTRATION:clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03353051). Registration date: November 27, 2017. FUNDING:Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1152353).
Project description:Adequate iron supply during pregnancy is essential for fetal development. However, how fetal or amniotic fluid iron levels are regulated during healthy pregnancy, or pregnancies complicated by intraamniotic infection or inflammation (IAI), is unknown. We evaluated amniotic fluid and fetal iron homeostasis in normal and complicated murine, macaque, and human pregnancy. In mice, fetal iron endowment was affected by maternal iron status, but amniotic fluid iron concentrations changed little during maternal iron deficiency or excess. In murine and macaque models of inflamed pregnancy, the fetus responded to maternal systemic inflammation or IAI by rapidly upregulating hepcidin and lowering iron in fetal blood, without altering amniotic fluid iron. In humans, elevated cord blood hepcidin with accompanying hypoferremia was observed in pregnancies with antenatal exposure to IAI compared with those that were nonexposed. Hepcidin was also elevated in human amniotic fluid from pregnancies with IAI compared with those without IAI, but amniotic fluid iron levels did not differ between the groups. Our studies in mice, macaques, and humans demonstrate that amniotic fluid iron is largely unregulated but that the rapid induction of fetal hepcidin by inflammation and consequent fetal hypoferremia are conserved mechanisms that may be important in fetal host defense.
Project description:Red blood cell transfusions remain one of the cornerstones in supportive care of lower-risk patients with myelodysplastic syndromes. We hypothesized that patients develop oxidant-mediated tissue injury through the formation of toxic iron species, caused either by red blood cell transfusions or by ineffective erythropoiesis. We analyzed serum samples from 100 lower-risk patients with myelodysplastic syndromes at six-month intervals for transferrin saturation, hepcidin-25, growth differentiation factor 15, soluble transferrin receptor, non-transferrin bound iron and labile plasma iron in order to evaluate temporal changes in iron metabolism and the presence of potentially toxic iron species and their impact on survival. Hepcidin levels were low in 34 patients with ringed sideroblasts compared to 66 patients without. Increases of hepcidin and non-transferrin bound iron levels were visible early in follow-up of all transfusion-dependent patient groups. Hepcidin levels significantly decreased over time in transfusion-independent patients with ringed sideroblasts. Increased soluble transferrin receptor levels in transfusion-independent patients with ringed sideroblasts confirmed the presence of ineffective erythropoiesis and suppression of hepcidin production in these patients. Detectable labile plasma iron levels in combination with high transferrin saturation levels occurred almost exclusively in patients with ringed sideroblasts and all transfusion-dependent patient groups. Detectable labile plasma iron levels in transfusion-dependent patients without ringed sideroblasts were associated with decreased survival. In conclusion, toxic iron species occurred in all transfusion-dependent patients and in transfusion-independent patients with ringed sideroblasts. Labile plasma iron appeared to be a clinically relevant measure for potential iron toxicity and a prognostic factor for survival in transfusion-dependent patients. clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: 00600860.
Project description:Hereditary iron overload includes several disorders characterized by iron accumulation in tissues, organs, or even single cells or subcellular compartments. They are determined by mutations in genes directly involved in hepcidin regulation, cellular iron uptake, management and export, iron transport and storage. Systemic forms are characterized by increased serum ferritin with or without high transferrin saturation, and with or without functional iron deficient anemia. Hemochromatosis includes five different genetic forms all characterized by high transferrin saturation and serum ferritin, but with different penetrance and expression. Mutations in HFE, HFE2, HAMP and TFR2 lead to inadequate or severely reduced hepcidin synthesis that, in turn, induces increased intestinal iron absorption and macrophage iron release leading to tissue iron overload. The severity of hepcidin down-regulation defines the severity of iron overload and clinical complications. Hemochromatosis type 4 is caused by dominant gain-of-function mutations of ferroportin preventing hepcidin-ferroportin binding and leading to hepcidin resistance. Ferroportin disease is due to loss-of-function mutation of SLC40A1 that impairs the iron export efficiency of ferroportin, causes iron retention in reticuloendothelial cell and hyperferritinemia with normal transferrin saturation. Aceruloplasminemia is caused by defective iron release from storage and lead to mild microcytic anemia, low serum iron, and iron retention in several organs including the brain, causing severe neurological manifestations. Atransferrinemia and DMT1 deficiency are characterized by iron deficient erythropoiesis, severe microcytic anemia with high transferrin saturation and parenchymal iron overload due to secondary hepcidin suppression. Diagnosis of the different forms of hereditary iron overload disorders involves a sequential strategy that combines clinical, imaging, biochemical, and genetic data. Management of iron overload relies on two main therapies: blood removal and iron chelators. Specific therapeutic options are indicated in patients with atransferrinemia, DMT1 deficiency and aceruloplasminemia.
Project description:Background:Anemia of inflammation (AI) is the most common cause of anemia in the critically ill, but its diagnosis is a challenge. New therapies specific to AI are in development, and they require accurate detection of AI. This study explores the potential of parameters of iron metabolism for the diagnosis of AI during an ICU stay. Methods:In a nested case-control study, 30 patients developing AI were matched to 60 controls. The iron parameters were determined in plasma samples during an ICU stay. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to determine the iron parameter threshold with the highest sensitivity and specificity to predict AI. Likelihood ratios as well as positive and negative predictive values were calculated as well. Results:The sensitivity of iron parameters for diagnosing AI ranges between 62 and 76%, and the specificity between 57 and 72%. Iron and transferrin show the greatest area under the curve. Iron shows the highest sensitivity, and transferrin and transferrin saturation display the highest specificity. Hepcidin and ferritin show the lowest specificity. At an actual anemia prevalence of 53%, the diagnostic accuracy of iron, transferrin, and transferrin saturation was fair, with a positive predictive value between 71 and 73%. Combining iron, transferrin, transferrin saturation, hepcidin, and/or ferritin levels did not increase the accuracy of the AI diagnosis. Conclusions:In this explorative study on the use of different parameters of iron metabolism for diagnosing AI during an ICU stay, low levels of commonly measured markers such as plasma iron, transferrin, and transferrin saturation have the highest sensitivity and specificity and outperform ferritin and hepcidin.
Project description:Hepcidin, the master regulator of systemic iron homeostasis, tightly influences erythrocyte production. High hepcidin levels block intestinal iron absorption and macrophage iron recycling, causing iron restricted erythropoiesis and anemia. Low hepcidin levels favor bone marrow iron supply for hemoglobin synthesis and red blood cells production. Expanded erythropoiesis, as after hemorrhage or erythropoietin treatment, blocks hepcidin through an acute reduction of transferrin saturation and the release of the erythroblast hormone and hepcidin inhibitor erythroferrone. Quantitatively reduced erythropoiesis, limiting iron consumption, increases transferrin saturation and stimulates hepcidin transcription. Deregulation of hepcidin synthesis is associated with anemia in three conditions: iron refractory iron deficiency anemia (IRIDA), the common anemia of acute and chronic inflammatory disorders, and the extremely rare hepcidin-producing adenomas that may develop in the liver of children with an inborn error of glucose metabolism. Inappropriately high levels of hepcidin cause iron-restricted or even iron-deficient erythropoiesis in all these conditions. Patients with IRIDA or anemia of inflammation do not respond to oral iron supplementation and show a delayed or partial response to intravenous iron. In hepcidin-producing adenomas, anemia is reverted by surgery. Other hepcidin-related anemias are the "iron loading anemias" characterized by ineffective erythropoiesis and hepcidin suppression. This group of anemias includes thalassemia syndromes, congenital dyserythropoietic anemias, congenital sideroblastic anemias, and some forms of hemolytic anemias as pyruvate kinase deficiency. The paradigm is non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia where the release of erythroferrone from the expanded pool of immature erythroid cells results in hepcidin suppression and secondary iron overload that in turn worsens ineffective erythropoiesis and anemia. In thalassemia murine models, approaches that induce iron restriction ameliorate both anemia and the iron phenotype. Manipulations of hepcidin might benefit all the above-described anemias. Compounds that antagonize hepcidin or its effect may be useful in inflammation and IRIDA, while hepcidin agonists may improve ineffective erythropoiesis. Correcting ineffective erythropoiesis in animal models ameliorates not only anemia but also iron homeostasis by reducing hepcidin inhibition. Some targeted approaches are now in clinical trials: hopefully they will result in novel treatments for a variety of anemias.
Project description:Anemia of inflammation (AI) is clinically prevalent and greatly threatens public health. Traditional remedies have raised controversy during clinical practice, calling for alternative therapies. We have recently found that hydrogen sulfide (H2S) inhibits inflammatory hepcidin, the critical mediator of AI. However, due to the chemical property of H2S, there remains an urgent need for a stable H2S donor in AI treatment. Here we reported that S-propargyl-cysteine (SPRC), a novel water-soluble H2S donor, suppressed hepatic hepcidin and corrected hypoferremia induced by lipopolysaccharide. The effects of SPRC were reversed by inhibition of cystathionine ?-lyase, one of the major endogenous H2S synthases. Moreover, SPRC reduced serum hepcidin, improved transferrin saturation, and maintained erythrocyte membrane integrity in a chronic mouse AI model. Consistently, splenomegaly was ameliorated and splenic iron accumulation relieved. Mechanism study indicated that serum IL-6 content and hepatic Il-6 mRNA were decreased by SPRC, in parallel with reduced hepatic JAK2/STAT3 activation. On the whole, our data reveal the inhibition of inflammatory hepcidin by SPRC, and suggest SPRC as a potential remedy against AI.
Project description:The iron requirements of the erythroid compartment modulate the expression of hepcidin in the liver, which in turn alters intestinal iron absorption and iron release from the reticuloendothelial system. We have taken advantage of an inherited anemia of the mouse (hemoglobin deficit, or hbd) to gain insights into the factors regulating hepcidin expression. hbd mice showed a significant anemia but, surprisingly, their iron absorption was not increased as it was in wild-type animals made anemic to a similar degree by dietary iron depletion. In wild-type mice hepatic hepcidin levels were decreased but in hbd animals a significant and unexpected increase was observed. The level of absorption was appropriate for the expression of hepcidin in each case, but in hbd mice did not reflect the degree of anemia. However, this apparent inappropriate regulation of hepcidin correlated with increased transferrin saturation and levels of diferric transferrin in the plasma, which in turn resulted from the reduced capacity of hbd animals to effectively use transferrin-bound iron. These data strengthen the proposal that diferric transferrin is a key indicator of body iron requirements.
Project description:Non-transfusion-dependent thalassaemias (NTDT) encompass a spectrum of anaemias rarely requiring blood transfusions. Increased iron absorption, driven by hepcidin suppression secondary to erythron expansion, initially causes intrahepatic iron overload. We examined iron metabolism biomarkers in 166 NTDT patients with ? thalassaemia intermedia (n = 95), haemoglobin (Hb) E/? thalassaemia (n = 49) and Hb H syndromes (n = 22). Liver iron concentration (LIC), serum ferritin (SF), transferrin saturation (TfSat) and non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) were elevated and correlated across diagnostic subgroups. NTBI correlated with soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), labile plasma iron (LPI) and nucleated red blood cells (NRBCs), with elevations generally confined to previously transfused patients. Splenectomised patients had higher NTBI, TfSat, NRBCs and SF relative to LIC, than non-splenectomised patients. LPI elevations were confined to patients with saturated transferrin. Erythron expansion biomarkers (sTfR, growth differentiation factor-15, NRBCs) correlated with each other and with iron overload biomarkers, particularly in Hb H patients. Plasma hepcidin was similar across subgroups, increased with >20 prior transfusions, and correlated inversely with TfSat, NTBI, LPI and NRBCs. Hepcidin/SF ratios were low, consistent with hepcidin suppression relative to iron overload. Increased NTBI and, by implication, risk of extra-hepatic iron distribution are more likely in previously transfused, splenectomised and iron-overloaded NTDT patients with TfSat >70%.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Optimal iron levels in patients on hemodialysis are currently unknown, and a higher level than that for the healthy population is usually set for such patients considering the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents or the occurrence of chronic inflammation. However, excessive iron causes oxidative stress and impairment of its utilization by cells. Therefore we investigated the relationship between hemoglobin (Hb) level and iron status in hemodialysis patients to identify the optimal iron levels for patients undergoing hemodialysis.<h4>Methods</h4>A total of 208 outpatients on maintenance hemodialysis were followed up between July 2006 and June 2007. Men accounted for 64.9% cases [mean age, 59.3 ± 13.1 years and median dialysis history, 7.7 (3.6-13.2) years], and diabetic nephropathy accounted for 25.0% cases. Hemoglobin level was measured twice a month and serum ferritin, serum iron, and total iron-binding capacity were measured once a month. The doses of recombinant human erythropoietin and low-dose iron supplement were adjusted to maintain a hemoglobin level of 10-11 g/dL, according to the guidelines of the Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy. Hepcidin was measured at baseline. Using the mean values for 1-year period, the relationships among hemoglobin, serum ferritin levels, and transferrin saturation levels were investigated based on a receiver operating characteristic curve and a logistic regression model. In addition, the correlations among serum ferritin, transferrin saturation, and hepcidin levels were analyzed by Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient and linear regression model.<h4>Results</h4>By receiver operating characteristic curve, the cutoff point of serum ferritin and transferrin saturation levels with a hemoglobin ?10 g/dL showed <90 ng/mL (sensitivity: 69.1%, specificity: 72.1%, p < 0.001) and ?20% (sensitivity: 77.6%, specificity: 48.8%, p = 0.302). Upon logistic regression model analysis with a hemoglobin ?10 g/dL as the endpoint, the analysis of odds ratios relative to a group with serum ferritin ?90 ng/mL and transferrin saturation <20% revealed that the group with serum ferritin <90 ng/mL and transferrin saturation ?20% had the highest ratio: 46.75 (95% confidence interval: 10.89-200.70, p < 0.001). In Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, hepcidin showed a strong positive correlation with serum ferritin [r = 0.78 (95% confidence interval: 0.72-0.83, p < 0.001)] and a weak positive correlation with transferrin saturation [r = 0.18 (95% confidence interval: 0.04-0.31, p = 0.010)]. In the multivariable analyses of the linear regression model, a positive relationship was shown between hepcidin and serum ferritin [?-coefficient of 0.30 (95% confidence interval: 0.27-0.34, p < 0.001)]; however, no relationship was shown with transferrin saturation [?-coefficient of 0.09 (95% confidence interval: -0.31-0.49, p = 0.660)].<h4>Conclusions</h4>In this study, the iron status of serum ferritin <90 ng/mL and transferrin saturation ?20% was optimal in hemodialysis patients receiving recombinant human erythropoietin for anemia therapy. This result indicates that the threshold values for the optimal iron status may be lower than those currently recommended in iron-level management guideline.