Time-course analysis of hepcidin, serum iron, and plasma cytokine levels in humans injected with LPS

Blood. 2005 Sep 1;106(5):1864-6. doi: 10.1182/blood-2005-03-1159. Epub 2005 May 10.


Hepatic peptide hormone hepcidin is the key regulator of iron metabolism and the mediator of anemia of inflammation. Previous studies indicated that interleukin-6 (IL-6) mediates hepcidin increase and consequent hypoferremia during inflammation. Here we used an in vivo human endotoxemia model to analyze the effects of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as a more upstream inflammation activator. The temporal associations between plasma cytokines, hepcidin levels, and serum iron parameters were studied in 10 healthy individuals after LPS injection. IL-6 was dramatically induced within 3 hours after injection, and urinary hepcidin peaked within 6 hours, followed by a significant decrease in serum iron. Serum prohepcidin showed no significant change within a 22-hour time frame. These in vivo human results confirm the importance of the IL-6-hepcidin axis in the development of hypoferremia in inflammation and highlight the rapid responsiveness of this iron regulatory system.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / urine*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Endotoxemia / blood*
  • Endotoxemia / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Hepcidins
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Iron / blood*
  • Lipopolysaccharides*
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Cytokines
  • HAMP protein, human
  • Hepcidins
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Iron