Recent studies have highlighted the importance of hepcidin in iron metabolism, particularly anaemia of chronic disease and iron overload. There have also been reports of its expression in various proinflammatory disorders and various organs, linking it to innate immunity and iron metabolism. To date, hepcidin has only been shown to be present in serum and urine of humans.
A research article to be published on May 7, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team led by Professor Jayantha Arnold, from Department of Gastroenterology, Ealing Hospital NHS Trust, United Kingdom, reported that hepcidin is found in various biological fluids.
Hepcidin radioimmunoassay (RIA) has been shown to be a reliable way to quantify hepcidin in serum and body fluids. Using this RIA, the researchers demonstrated the presence of hepcidin in saliva from 17 healthy volunteers. The concentration detected was lower than serum levels. This may have significance in oral infections in individuals with an inability to modulate hepcidin in saliva when faced with microbial invasion. RIA also demonstrated the presence of hepcidin in human bile. The concentration detected was around half of that seen in serum. This may have significance in being a possible underlying factor as to whether or not patients develop gallstones or biliary infections. The actual antimicrobial activity of biliary hepcidin needs to be studied further. Hepcidin was also detected in pleural and peritoneal fluid in patients with diseases such as cirrhosis of liver and pneumonia. Again this has relevance to whether there is an individual susceptibility to infection dependent on hepcidin response to initial microbial invasion.
The study demonstrated that by understanding how hepcidin is expressed and by blocking its expression, there may be a therapeutic potential in patients with anaemia of chronic inflammation. Further application could be that secondary infection of pleural and ascitic fluid complicating underlying diseases may be better understood by studying hepcidin levels in infected and non-infected patients.
Reference: Arnold J, Sangwaiya A, Manglam V, Geoghegan F, Thursz M, Busbridge M. Presence of hepcidin-25 in biological fluids: Bile, ascitic and pleural fluids. World J Gastroenterol 2010; 16(17): 2129-2133
Correspondence to: Jayantha Arnold, Professor, Department of Gastroenterology, Ealing Hospital NHS Trust, Uxbridge Road, London UB1 3HW, United Kingdom. firstname.lastname@example.org
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About World Journal of Gastroenterology
World Journal of Gastroenterology (WJG), a leading international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, has established a reputation for publishing first class research on esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, viral hepatitis, colorectal cancer, and H. pylori infection and provides a forum for both clinicians and scientists. WJG has been indexed and abstracted in Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, Science Citation Index Expanded (also known as SciSearch) and Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Index Medicus, MEDLINE and PubMed, Chemical Abstracts, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Abstracts Journals, Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology, CAB Abstracts and Global Health. ISI JCR 2008 IF: 2.081. WJG is a weekly journal published by WJG Press. The publication dates are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of every month. WJG is supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30224801 and No. 30424812, and was founded with the name of China National Journal of New Gastroenterology on October 1, 1995, and renamed WJG on January 25, 1998.