Increased hepcidin expression in multibacillary leprosy|
de Souza, Vânia Nieto Brito; Malaspina, Tatiana Salles de Souza; Campanelli, Ana Paula; Ghidella, Cássio; Ura, Somei; Dalpino, Dirceu; do Nascimento, Dejair Caitano & Latini, Ana Carla Pereira
Iron is essential for all organisms and its availability can control the growth of microorganisms; therefore, we examined the role of iron metabolism in multibacillary (MB) leprosy, focusing on the involvement of hepcidin. Erythrograms, iron metabolism parameters, pro-inflammatory cytokines and urinary hepcidin levels were evaluated in patients with MB and matched control subjects. Hepcidin expression in MB lesions was evaluated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The expression of ferroportin and hepcidin was evaluated by immunofluorescence in paucibacillary and MB lesions. Analysis of hepcidin protein levels in urine and of hepcidin mRNA and protein levels in leprosy lesions and skin biopsies from healthy control subjects showed elevated hepcidin levels in MB patients. Decreases in haematologic parameters and total iron binding capacity were observed in patients with MB leprosy. Moreover, interleukin-1 beta, ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor and soluble transferrin receptor/log ferritin index values were increased in leprosy patients. Hepcidin was elevated in lepromatous lesions, whereas ferroportin was more abundant in tuberculoid lesions. In addition, hepcidin and ferroportin were not colocalised in the biopsies from leprosy lesions. Anaemia was not commonly observed in patients with MB; however, the observed changes in haematologic parameters indicating altered iron metabolism appeared to result from a mixture of anaemia of inflammation and iron deficiency. Thus, iron sequestration inside host cells might play a role in leprosy by providing an optimal environment for the bacillus.
leprosy - hepcidin - iron metabolism