Circulating factors are involved in hypoxia-induced hepcidin suppression

Giulia Ravasi, Sara Pelucchi, Federico Greni, Raffaella Mariani, Andrea Giuliano, Gianfranco Parati, Laura Silvestri, Alberto Piperno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hepcidin transcription is strongly down-regulated under hypoxic conditions, however whether hypoxia inhibits hepcidin directly or indirectly is still unknown. We investigated the time course of hypoxia-mediated hepcidin down-regulation in vivo in healthy volunteers exposed to hypobaric hypoxia at high altitude and, based on the hypothesis that circulating factors are implicated in hepcidin inhibition, we analyzed the effect of sera of these volunteers exposed to normoxia and hypoxia on hepcidin expression in Huh-7 cell lines. Hypoxia led to a significant hepcidin down-regulation in vivo that was almost complete within 72. h of exposure and followed erythropoietin induction. This delay in hepcidin down-regulation suggests the existence of soluble factor/s regulating hepcidin production. We then stimulated HuH-7 cells with normoxic and hypoxic sera to analyze the effects of sera on hepcidin regulation. Hypoxic sera had a significant inhibitory effect on hepcidin promoter activity assessed by a luciferase assay, although the amount of such decrease was not as relevant as that observed in vivo. Cellular mRNA analysis showed that a number of volunteers' sera inhibited hepcidin expression, concurrently with ID1 inhibition, suggesting that inhibitory factor(s) may act through the SMAD-pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-210
Number of pages7
JournalBlood cells, molecules & diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Hepcidin
  • High altitude
  • Huh-7
  • Hypoxia
  • Iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology
  • Medicine(all)


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