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Hepatology. 2009 Mar;49(3):1012-6. doi: 10.1002/hep.22699.

Is the iron donor lipocalin 2 implicated in the pathophysiology of hereditary hemochromatosis?

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Département de Médicine, Centre de Recherche, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Hôpital Notre-Dame, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Under normal conditions, iron is taken up by the cells through the transferrin-mediated pathway. However, in hereditary hemochromatosis, a common iron-overloading disorder associated with mutations in the HFE gene, iron in plasma exceeds transferrin-binding capacity, and non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) appears in the circulation of patients with iron overload. NTBI can be taken up by hepatocytes through a transferrin-independent pathway. Lipocalin 2 (Lcn2), a secreted protein of the lipocalin family, has emerged as the mediator of an alternative, transferrin-independent pathway for cellular iron delivery. To evaluate the importance of Lcn2 in the pathogenesis of hepatic iron loading in Hfe knockout mice, we generated HfeLcn2 double-deficient mice. Our studies revealed that deletion of Lcn2 in Hfe-knockout mice does not influence hepatic iron accumulation in Hfe(-/-) mice, or their response to iron loading, as the phenotype of HfeLcn2(-/-) mice remained indistinguishable from that of Hfe(-/-) mice.


Lcn2 is not essential for iron delivery to hepatocytes in hemochromatosis.

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