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Clin Chim Acta. 2011 Nov 20;412(23-24):2241-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2011.08.014. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

Effects of a single dose of oral iron on hepcidin concentrations in human urine and serum analyzed by a robust LC-MS/MS method.

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  • 1Liver-Biliary-Pancreatic Center, Carolinas HealthCare System, Charlotte, NC 28203, USA. Sunil.Hwang@carolinashealthcare.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The measurement of serum hepcidin, a peptide hormone that regulates iron metabolism, is clinically important to the understanding of iron homeostasis in health and disease. To date, the quantification of serum hepcidin levels by conventional immunological detection methods has proven problematic due to challenges in obtaining high quality antibodies which demonstrate good reproducibility. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) has been employed recently for more sensitive quantification of hepcidin; however, this method has high background levels and therefore less than optimal specificity.

METHODS:

In order to increase the specificity of the mass spectrometry based assay, we developed a robust, ultra-performance liquid-chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) protocol using multiple selected reaction monitoring (mSRM) for quantification of hepcidin levels in urine and serum of human subjects. With this assay, we assessed levels of hepcidin before and for up to 8 h after oral ingestion of ferrous sulfate in ten adult human subjects without known disease.

RESULTS:

The linear response of hepcidin quantitation on each instrument was measured, and the correlation coefficients of these calibrations were r(2)=0.9512±0.0202 (n=5) for urine and r(2)=0.9709±0.0291 (n=5) for serum [r(2)=mean±SD]. Compared to baseline, the levels of urinary hepcidin between 2-4 h and 4-8 h of both women and men showed significant increases with p<0.05 and p<0.001, respectively. The levels of serum hepcidin between 4 h and 8 h in both women and men showed significant increases, compared with baseline values, with both p<0.01. Interestingly, we also observed some degree of oscillation of levels, occurring at later time points.

CONCLUSIONS:

We have developed and validated a new method for measuring hepcidin concentrations in human serum and urine and used it to demonstrate early increases with iron supplement in both urinary and serum levels of hepcidin, which return to baseline levels, except in urine samples from men.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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