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PLoS One. 2015 Aug 31;10(8):e0136695. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136695. eCollection 2015.

Urinary Hepcidin Levels in Iron-Deficient and Iron-Supplemented Piglets Correlate with Hepcidin Hepatic mRNA and Serum Levels and with Body Iron Status.

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Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding PAS, Department of Molecular Biology, Jastrzębiec, Poland.
Department of Laboratory Medicine (LGEM 830), Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Department of Genetics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.
Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Physiological Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.
Department of Animal Nutrition & Feed Science, National Research Institute of Animal Production, Kraków, Poland.


Among livestock, domestic pig (Sus scrofa) is a species, in which iron metabolism has been most intensively examined during last decade. The obvious reason for studying the regulation of iron homeostasis especially in young pigs is neonatal iron deficiency anemia commonly occurring in these animals. Moreover, supplementation of essentially all commercially reared piglets with iron entails a need for monitoring the efficacy of this routine practice followed in the swine industry for several decades. Since the discovery of hepcidin many studies confirmed its role as key regulator of iron metabolism and pointed out the assessment of its concentrations in biological fluids as diagnostic tool for iron-related disorder. Here we demonstrate that urine hepcidin-25 levels measured by a combination of weak cation exchange chromatography and time-of-flight mass spectrometry (WCX-TOF MS) are highly correlated with mRNA hepcidin expression in the liver and plasma hepcidin-25 concentrations in anemic and iron-supplemented 28-day old piglets. We also found a high correlation between urine hepcidin level and hepatic non-heme iron content. Our results show that similarly to previously described transgenic mouse models of iron disorders, young pigs constitute a convenient animal model to explore accuracy and relationship between indicators for assessing systemic iron status.

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