Ferroportin mRNA is down-regulated in granulosa and cervical cells from infertile women

Fertil Steril. 2017 Jan;107(1):236-242. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.10.008. Epub 2016 Nov 16.


Objective: To explore the relationship between iron and infertility by investigating iron-related gene expression in granulosa and uterine cervical cells.

Design: Case-control study.

Setting: Two tertiary hospitals.

Patient(s): Two independent cohorts of fertile (n = 18 and n = 17) and infertile (n = 31 and n = 35) women.

Intervention(s): In vitro fertilization.

Main outcome measure(s): Gene expression levels of ferritin light chain (FTL), ferritin heavy chain (FTH), transferrin receptor (TFRC), and ferroportin (SLC40A1) mRNA were analyzed in granulosa and cervical cells.

Result(s): In the first cohort, fertile and infertile women were similar in body mass index. Ferroportin mRNA levels were decreased in granulosa cells from infertile women in parallel with increased serum hepcidin levels. A positive association between ferroportin and TFRC mRNA, a gene associated with intracellular iron deficiency, was observed only in granulosa cells from fertile women. The major findings were replicated in a second independent cohort.

Conclusion(s): Ferroportin mRNAs and circulating hepcidin identify a subset of infertile women and may constitute a target for therapy.

Keywords: Ferroportin; ferritin; infertility; in vitro fertilization; ovarian granulosa cells; sterility; uterine cervical cells.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Apoferritins / genetics
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cation Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Cervical Atlas / chemistry*
  • Cervical Atlas / pathology
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Ferritins / genetics
  • Fertility*
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Granulosa Cells / chemistry*
  • Granulosa Cells / pathology
  • Hepcidins / blood
  • Humans
  • Infertility / blood
  • Infertility / genetics*
  • Infertility / physiopathology
  • Infertility / therapy
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Receptors, Transferrin / genetics
  • Spain
  • Tertiary Care Centers
  • Young Adult


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD71 antigen
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • FTL protein, human
  • HAMP protein, human
  • Hepcidins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Transferrin
  • metal transporting protein 1
  • Ferritins
  • Apoferritins
  • FTH1 protein, human