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Bull Acad Natl Med. 2004;188(2):247-62; discussion 262-3.

[Genetics of hereditary iron overload].

[Article in French]

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UMR 6061, Faculté de Médecine CS34317-2, Avenue du Pr. Léon Bernard 35043-Rennes Cedex France.


The classification of hereditary abnormalities of iron metabolism was recently expanded and diversified. Genetic hemochromatosis now corresponds to six diseases, namely classical hemochromatosis HFE 1; juvenile hemochromatosis HFE 2 due to mutations in an unidentified gene on chromosome 1; hemochromatosis HFE 3 due to mutations in the transferrin receptor 2 (TfR2); hemochromatosis HFE 4 caused by a mutation in the H subunit of ferritin; and hemochromatosis HFE 6 whose gene is hepcidine (HAMP). Systemic iron overload is also associated with aceruloplasminemia, atransferrinemia and the "Gracile" syndrome caused by mutations in BCS1L. The genes responsible for neonatal and African forms of iron overload are unknown. Other genetic diseases are due to localized iron overload: Friedreich's ataxia results from the expansion of triple nucleotide repeats within the frataxin (FRDA) gene; two forms of X-linked sideroblastic anemia are due to mutations within the delta aminolevulinate synthetase (ALAS 2) or ABC-7 genes; Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome is caused by a pantothenate kinase 2 gene (PANK-2) defect; neuroferritinopathies; and hyperferritinemia--cataract syndrome due to a mutation within the L-ferritin gene. In addition to this wide range of genetic abnormalities, two other features characterize these iron disorders: 1) most are transmitted by an autosomal recessive mechanism, but some, including hemochromatosis type 4, have dominant transmission; and 2) most correspond to cytosolic iron accumulation while some, like Friedreich's ataxia, are disorders of mitochondrial metabolism.

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