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Histol Histopathol. 2007 Jul;22(7):791-804. doi: 10.14670/HH-22.791.

The role of hepcidin and ferroportin in iron absorption.

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Physiology M311, School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA, Australia.


The field of iron metabolism is moving rapidly. There have been significant advances in our understanding of how proteins carry out the process of iron absorption. The three main tissues involved in iron exchange are the enterocyte which contributes new iron to the system, the hepatocyte which stores and releases iron and the macrophages which recycles iron from effete red blood cells to the plasma. This review examines recent evidence into the function of the iron transporters divalent metal transporter and ferroportin in enterocytes. Evidence is also provided from the author's laboratory which presents an alternative hypothesis into how hepcidin a key regulator molecule might interact with ferroportin in enterocytes. It is proposed that ferroportin operates differently in enterocytes compared with macrophages. Specifically in enterocytes ferroportin appears to function in the uptake stage of iron absorption.

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