Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCLA and Univ. of Utah researchers identify how a hormone regulates iron

29.10.2004


Findings may lead to treatments for hemochromatosis and anemia of chronic disease

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.

Rachel Champeau | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucla.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>