Invention Summary: Hepcidin is a liver-produced peptide
hormone which controls iron absorption by regulating the amount of the cell
surface iron transporter ferroportin, which exports iron from cells to blood.
Altered hepcidin levels are associated with disorders of iron metabolism and
absorption, and disease-associated anemia. Hepcidin also plays an important role
in regulation of innate immunity and inflammation. Therapeutic modulation of
hepcidin levels could also provide a new approach for the treatment of
iron-dependent disorders. Previously, the detection and quantification of
hepcidin for diagnostic purposes has been difficult due to challenges in
production of specific antibodies, and their lack of specificity for the intact
and bioactive form of hepcidin. Based on the identification of a high-affinity
hepcidin binding domain on ferroportin, the present invention provides a rapid
and sensitive assay to measure hepcidin levels in biological fluids, providing a
valuable clinical and diagnostic tool for diseases related to iron metabolism
Market Applications: Hepcidin deficiency is the primary
cause of hereditary hemochromatosis, a disease characterized by excessive iron
absorption, while excess hepcidin contributes to the pathology of iron-loading
anemias such as thalassemia major. In addition, hepcidin levels are increased in
patients with anemia of inflammation, acute infection, and severe sepsis. In a
recent study, excess hepcidin was also found to accumulate in the serum of
patients receiving hemodialysis, indicating that it could contribute to the
pathogenesis of renal anemia and serve as a biomarker for diagnosis of this
condition. Accurate detection of hepcidin levels would be a useful clinical tool
for diagnosis and assessment of these and other diseases involving inflammation,
anemia, or iron overload.
Features and Benefits:
The assay allows specific
measurement of the fully intact and bioactive form of hepcidin.
A variety of assay formats are possible, including ELISA, RIA, and other
The assay is suitable for measurement of hepcidin levels in serum and urine
in humans and other species.
Intellectual Property Status: Patents pending. The
technology is available for licensing in the United States and other countries.
Related Research: De Domenico. et al. (2007)
"The molecular mechanism of hepcidin-mediated ferroportin down-regulation." Mol.