Background: The peptide hepcidin plays a central role in regulating dietary iron absorption and body iron distribution. This 25-amino acid hormone is produced and secreted predominantly by hepatocytes. Hepcidin has been suggested as a promising diagnostic marker for iron-related disorders. However, its accurate quantification for clinical use remains so far challenging. In this report we describe a highly specific and quantitative serum hepcidin method using liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).
Material: The analytical validation included the determination of the limit of detection, of quantification, repeatability, reproducibility and linearity. This assay was developed for human and mouse hepcidin. The human assay was performed on serum patients with unexplained microcytic anemia. We applied our LC-MS/MS method for quantifying hepcidin-1 in mouse in various conditions: inflammation, hemolytic anemia, Hamp-1, Hjv and Hfe KO mice.
Results: We show that the LC-MS/MS is suitable for accurate determination of hepcidin-25 in clinical samples, thereby representing a useful tool for the clinical diagnosis and follow-up of iron-related diseases. In mouse, a strong correlation between hepatic Hamp-1 mRNA expression and serum hepcidin-1 levels was found (r=0.88; p=0.0002) and the expected variations in mouse models of iron disorders were observed.
Conclusions: Therefore, we propose this adaptive LC-MS/MS method as a suitable method for accurate determination of hepcidin-25 in clinical samples and as a major tool contributing to the clinical diagnosis, follow-up and management of iron-related disorders. It also opens new avenues to measure hepcidin in animal models without interspecies antigenic limitations.