Hepcidin and its multiple partners: Complex regulation of iron metabolism in health and disease

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The peptide hormone hepcidin is central to the regulation of iron metabolism, influencing the movement of iron into the circulation and determining total body iron stores. Its effect on a cellular level involves binding ferroportin, the main iron export protein, preventing iron egress and leading to iron sequestration within ferroportin-expressing cells. Hepcidin expression is enhanced by iron loading and inflammation and suppressed by erythropoietic stimulation. Aberrantly increased hepcidin leads to systemic iron deficiency and/or iron restricted erythropoiesis as occurs in anemia of chronic inflammation. Furthermore, insufficiently elevated hepcidin occurs in multiple diseases associated with iron overload such as hereditary hemochromatosis and iron loading anemias. Abnormal iron metabolism as a consequence of hepcidin dysregulation is an underlying factor resulting in pathophysiology of multiple diseases and several agents aimed at manipulating this pathway have been designed, with some already in clinical trials. In this chapter, we assess the complex regulation of hepcidin, delineate the many binding partners involved in its regulation, and present an update on the development of hepcidin agonists and antagonists in various clinical scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHormone Receptors
Subtitle of host publicationStructures and Functions
EditorsGerald Litwack
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages36
ISBN (Print)9780443134555
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Publication series

NameVitamins and Hormones
ISSN (Print)0083-6729


  • Anemia of inflammation
  • Erythroferrone
  • Hepcidin antagonists
  • Hepcidin mimetics
  • Hepcidin:ferroportin axis
  • Hereditary hemochromatosis
  • Iron metabolism
  • Polycythemia vera
  • β-Thalassemia


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