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Blood. 2009 Sep 17;114(12):2515-20. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-02-206771. Epub 2009 Jul 21.

BMP/Smad signaling is not enhanced in Hfe-deficient mice despite increased Bmp6 expression.

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  • 1Inserm, Toulouse, France.

Abstract

Impaired regulation of hepcidin expression in response to iron loading appears to be the pathogenic mechanism for hereditary hemochromatosis. Iron normally induces expression of the BMP6 ligand, which, in turn, activates the BMP/Smad signaling cascade directing hepcidin expression. The molecular function of the HFE protein, involved in the most common form of hereditary hemochromatosis, is still unknown. We have used Hfe-deficient mice of different genetic backgrounds to test whether HFE has a role in the signaling cascade induced by BMP6. At 7 weeks of age, these mice have accumulated iron in their liver and have increased Bmp6 mRNA and protein. However, in contrast to mice with secondary iron overload, levels of phosphorylated Smads 1/5/8 and of Id1 mRNA, both indicators of BMP signaling, are not significantly higher in the liver of these mice than in wild-type livers. As a consequence, hepcidin mRNA levels in Hfe-deficient mice are similar or marginally reduced, compared with 7-week-old wild-type mice. The inappropriately low levels of Id1 and hepcidin mRNA observed at weaning further suggest that Hfe deficiency triggers iron overload by impairing hepatic Bmp/Smad signaling. HFE therefore appears to facilitate signal transduction induced by the BMP6 ligand.

PMID:
19622835
DOI:
10.1182/blood-2009-02-206771
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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