Hepcidin secretion was not directly proportional to intracellular iron-loading in recombinant-TfR1 HepG2 cells: short communication

Kosha J Mehta, Mark Busbridge, Vinood B Patel, Sebastien Je Farnaud

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    Hepcidin is the master regulator of systemic iron homeostasis and its dysregulation is observed in several chronic liver diseases. Unlike the extracellular iron-sensing mechanisms, the intracellular iron-sensing mechanisms in the hepatocytes that lead to hepcidin induction and secretion are incompletely understood. Here, we aimed to understand the direct role of intracellular iron-loading on hepcidin mRNA and peptide secretion using our previously characterised recombinant HepG2 cells that over-express the cell-surface iron-importer protein transferrin receptor-1. Gene expression of hepcidin (HAMP) was determined by real-time PCR. Intracellular iron levels and secreted hepcidin peptide levels were measured by ferrozine assay and immunoassay, respectively. These measurements were compared in the recombinant and wild-type HepG2 cells under basal conditions at 30 min, 2 h, 4 h and 24 h. Data showed that in the recombinant cells, intracellular iron content was higher than wild-type cells at 30 min (3.1-fold, p < 0.01), 2 h (4.6-fold, p < 0.01), 4 h (4.6-fold, p < 0.01) and 24 h (1.9-fold, p < 0.01). Hepcidin (HAMP) mRNA expression was higher than wild-type cells at 30 min (5.9-fold; p = 0.05) and 24 h (6.1-fold; p < 0.03), but at 4 h, the expression was lower than that in wild-type cells (p < 0.05). However, hepcidin secretion levels in the recombinant cells were similar to those in wild-type cells at all time-points, except at 4 h, when the level was lower than wild-type cells (p < 0.01). High intracellular iron in recombinant HepG2 cells did not proportionally increase hepcidin peptide secretion. This suggests a limited role of elevated intracellular iron in hepcidin secretion.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)121-128
    Number of pages8
    JournalMolecular and Cellular Biochemistry
    Issue number1-2
    Early online date17 Mar 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

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    Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will
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    • Hepcidin
    • Iron
    • HAMP
    • Transferrin receptor
    • Iron-sensing
    • HepG2 cells


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