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Hepcidin expression in the liver of rats fed a magnesium-deficient diet

  • Natsumi Ishizaki (a1), Megumi Kotani (a1), Masayuki Funaba (a1) and Tohru Matsui (a1)


Mg deficiency accelerates Fe accumulation in the liver, which may induce various metabolic disturbances. In the present study, we examined the gene expression of Hepcidin, a peptide hormone produced in the liver to regulate intestinal Fe absorption negatively, in Mg-deficient rats. Although liver Fe concentration was significantly higher in rats fed an Mg-deficient diet for 4 weeks than in rats fed a control diet, Hepcidin expression in the liver was comparable between the dietary groups. Previous studies revealed that Fe overload up-regulated Hepcidin expression through transcriptional activation by Fe-induced bone morphogenetic protein (Bmp) 6, a growth/differentiation factor belonging to the transforming growth factor-β family, in the liver. Mg deficiency up-regulated the expression of Bmp6 but did not affect the expression of inhibition of DNA binding 1, a sensitive Bmp-responsive gene. In addition, the expression of Bmp receptors such as activin receptor-like kinase 2 (Alk2), activin receptor type IIA (Actr2a), activin receptor type IIB (Actr2b) and Bmp type II receptor (Bmpr2) was lower in the liver of Mg-deficient rats than in that of control rats. The present study indicates that accumulation of hepatic Fe by Mg deficiency is a stimulant inducing Bmp6 expression but not Hepcidin expression by blunting Bmp signalling possibly resulting from down-regulation of the receptor expression. Unresponsive Hepcidin expression may have a role in Mg deficiency-induced changes related to increased liver Fe.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: T. Matsui, fax +81 75 753 6344, email


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