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Minerva Medica 2003 June;94(3):135-40

language: Italian

Hepcidin: a key peptide in iron metabolism

Cardarelli G., Anatra G. M.


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Hepcidin (hepatic bactericidal protein) is a protein synthesised by the hepatocyte belonging to the family of endogenous peptide antimicrobes. It is produced in large quantities by the liver, heart and spinal cord and then is excreted in the urine. This protein, sequenced on human chromosoma 19, can be found in 2 main forms: Hepc 20 and Hepc 25 aminoacids respectively with 8 cystein residues connected by disulphine bridges. Evidence of lipopolysaccharide hepatocyte and the high concentrations of iron tied to fransferrin are elements which stimulate the production and release of Hepcidin. The latter, interacting with b-2microglobulin-HFE-TfR1 complex determines an iron retention within the macrophages of the entherocyte in the duodenal pit. Hepcidin is therefore an important molecule which is able to regulate iron homeostasis and play a most significant role in the etiopathogenesis of the hemochromatosis system and, as recently shown, of anemia in chronic inflammatory diseases.

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