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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Mar;27 Suppl 2:42-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2011.07014.x.

Iron and steatohepatitis.

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Division of Internal Medicine 2 and Center for Hemochromatosis, Mario Coppo Liver Research Center, University Hospital of Modena, Modena, Italy.


As the main iron storage site in the body and the main source of the iron-regulatory hormone, hepcidin, the liver plays a pivotal role in iron homeostasis. A variable degree of hepatic iron accumulation has long been recognized in a number of chronic liver diseases. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis display increased iron deposits in the liver, with an hepatocellular, mesenchymal, or mixed pattern, and recent reports have documented a concomitant aberrant hepcidin expression that could be linked to different coincidental pathogenic events (e.g. the etiological agent itself, necroinflammation, metabolic derangements, genetic predisposition). The present study reviews the pathogenic mechanisms of iron accumulation in steatohepatitis during alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver disease and the role of excess iron in chronic disease progression.

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