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Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019 Mar 27;2019:7623023. doi: 10.1155/2019/7623023. eCollection 2019.

New Insights into the Hepcidin-Ferroportin Axis and Iron Homeostasis in iPSC-Derived Cardiomyocytes from Friedreich's Ataxia Patient.

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Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, Bologna University, 40126 Bologna, Italy.
IRCCS Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, 20148 Milan, Italy.
Interdepartmental Centre for Industrial Research in Health Sciences and Technologies (ICIR-HST), University of Bologna, 40064 Ozzano, Bologna, Italy.
CRS Development of Biomolecular Therapies, Experimental Oncology Laboratory, Orthopedic Rizzoli Institute, 40136 Bologna, Italy.


Iron homeostasis in the cardiac tissue as well as the involvement of the hepcidin-ferroportin (HAMP-FPN) axis in this process and in cardiac functionality are not fully understood. Imbalance of iron homeostasis occurs in several cardiac diseases, including iron-overload cardiomyopathies such as Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA, OMIM no. 229300), a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder. Exploiting the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) technology and the iPSC capacity to differentiate into specific cell types, we derived cardiomyocytes of a FRDA patient and of a healthy control subject in order to study the cardiac iron homeostasis and the HAMP-FPN axis. Both CTR and FRDA iPSCs-derived cardiomyocytes express cardiac differentiation markers; in addition, FRDA cardiomyocytes maintain the FRDA-like phenotype. We found that FRDA cardiomyocytes show an increase in the protein expression of HAMP and FPN. Moreover, immunofluorescence analysis revealed for the first time an unexpected nuclear localization of FPN in both CTR and FRDA cardiomyocytes. However, the amount of the nuclear FPN was less in FRDA cardiomyocytes than in controls. These and other data suggest that iron handling and the HAMP-FPN axis regulation in FRDA cardiac cells are hampered and that FPN may have new, still not fully understood, functions. These findings underline the complexity of the cardiac iron homeostasis.

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