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J Pharmacol Toxicol Methods. 2009 May-Jun;59(3):171-80. doi: 10.1016/j.vascn.2009.02.004. Epub 2009 Feb 28.

Development of a method for the sensitive and quantitative determination of hepcidin in human serum using LC-MS/MS.

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Pharmacokinetics & Drug Metabolism, Amgen, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA.



Hepcidin, a 25-amino acid peptide hormone, plays a crucial regulatory role in iron metabolism. Elevated hepcidin has been observed in response to inflammation and is speculated to be a causative factor in inflammatory anemia due to induction of functional iron deficiency. Hepcidin has been suggested as a biomarker of anemia of inflammation. An accurate assessment of human serum hepcidin is critical to understand its role in anemia.


An LC-MS/MS method was developed to quantify hepcidin in human serum using chemically synthesized hepcidin as a standard and stable isotope labeled hepcidin as internal standard. Rabbit serum was used as a surrogate matrix for standards due to the presence of endogenous hepcidin in human serum. The method was validated to FDA criteria for bioanalytical assays.


The calibration curve was validated over the range of 2.5 to 500 ng/mL. Hepcidin was stable in serum for at least 16 h at room temperature, 90 days at -60 to -80 degrees C, and after three F/T cycles. Interday accuracy (% RE) and precision (%CV) were -11.2% and 5.6%, respectively at the LLOQ, and less than +/-7.0% and 9.2%, respectively for higher concentrations. The mean accuracy of quality control samples (5.00, 15.0, 100 and 400 ng/mL) in 21 analytical batches was between -0.7 and +2.1%, with mean precision between 5.1% and 13.4%. Hepcidin was below 2.5 ng/mL in 31 of 60 healthy subjects, while the mean concentration was less than 10 ng/mL. Sepsis and chronic kidney disease patients had mean serum concentrations of 252 ng/mL (n=16, median 121 ng/mL) and 99 ng/mL (n=50, median 68 ng/mL), respectively.


A fully validated LC-MS/MS method has been described for the determination of hepcidin in human serum. This method was applied to the determination of hepcidin in over 1200 human samples.

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