Blood 2010 Apr 6;115(17):3616-24. Epub 2010 Jan 6.
Department of Hematology/Oncology, Amgen Inc, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA.
Iron maldistribution has been implicated in multiple diseases, including the anemia of inflammation (AI), atherosclerosis, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders. Iron metabolism is controlled by hepcidin, a 25-amino acid peptide. Hepcidin is induced by inflammation, causes iron to be sequestered, and thus, potentially contributes to AI. Human hepcidin (hHepc) overexpression in mice caused an iron-deficient phenotype, including stunted growth, hair loss, and iron-deficient erythropoiesis. It also caused resistance to supraphysiologic levels of erythropoiesis-stimulating agent, supporting the hypothesis that hepcidin may influence response to treatment in AI. To explore the role of hepcidin in inflammatory anemia, a mouse AI model was developed with heat-killed Brucella abortus treatment. Suppression of hepcidin mRNA was a successful anemia treatment in this model. High-affinity antibodies specific for hHepc were generated, and hHepc knock-in mice were produced to enable antibody testing. Antibody treatment neutralized hHepc in vitro and in vivo and facilitated anemia treatment in hHepc knock-in mice with AI. These data indicate that antihepcidin antibodies may be an effective treatment for patients with inflammatory anemia. The ability to manipulate iron metabolism in vivo may also allow investigation of the role of iron in a number of other pathologic conditions.