It is currently unknown if the increase of the hepatic iron regulatory hormone hepcidin during inflammation in man depends on an intact HFE-protein. Here we describe the temporal relationship of serum hepcidin, serum iron and cytokines in a patient with HFE-related (C282Y homozygous) hereditary hemochromatosis who was treated for an auto-inflammatory condition, i.e. variant Schnitzler's syndrome, with the potent anti-inflammatory cytokine inter-leukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra, anakinra). The patient had bouts of fever with peaking serum IL-6 concentrations followed by peaking serum hepcidin levels, while serum iron was low. Upon treatment, these peaks disappeared and hepcidin levels became non-detectable, consistent with HFE deficiency. In conclusion, this in vivo human model: i) supports the importance of an HFE-independent IL-6-hepcidin axis in the development of hypoferremia and anemia of inflammation; and ii) suggests that chronic inflammation protects patients with HFE-related hereditary hemochromatosis from iron accumulation.