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J Hepatol. 2008 May;48(5):801-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2007.12.021. Epub 2008 Feb 13.

2-Oxoglutarate-dependent oxygenases control hepcidin gene expression.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Medicine, University of Thessaly, 22 Papakyriazi Street, Larissa, Greece.



Hepcidin is a liver-produced hormone that regulates systemic iron homeostasis. Hepcidin expression is stimulated upon iron overload or inflammation while iron deficiency, anemia and tissue hypoxia are negative regulators. We investigated the involvement of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent oxygenases, HIF-1 and other transcription factors in the hypoxic suppression of hepcidin.


Northern blotting analysis and real time PCR were used to determine hepcidin mRNA levels in hepatoma cells and hepcidin promoter activity was measured using Huh7 cells transfected with suitable reporter constructs under various conditions.


Treatment of human cultured hepatoma cells with hypoxia or known inhibitors of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent oxygenases, such as the iron chelator desferrioxamine, cobalt or the 2-oxoglutarate analogue dimethyl-oxalylglycine significantly reduced hepcidin mRNA levels and down-regulated its gene promoter activity. This effect was not dependent on the HREs or other known putative response elements in the hepcidin promoter and was observed even under interleukin-6 treatment.


2-Oxoglutarate-dependent oxygenases are important to maintain high hepcidin mRNA expression in a HIF-1-independent manner. We suggest that modulation of oxygenase activity may be of therapeutic value in iron-related disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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