Iron is an essential element and its amount and balance must be precisely regulated. Iron intestinal absorption is
essential for the iron balance; however, the precise mechanism of its regulation remains unknown. Antimicrobial
peptide hepcidin, produced in the liver, is considered as a key regulator of iron absorption and kinetics in the organism.
Its expression increases in response to the iron overload. Hepcidin decreases iron absorption in the duodenum and
causes its sequestration in macrophages. Apart from the iron, inflammation increases hepcidin expression in the
liver, and hepcidin is considered to be acute phase protein. Hepcidin is not only the physiological regulator of iron
kinetics but is supposed to be a part of the pathogenetic mechanism of anaemia accompanying chronic diseases and
its relationship to the hereditary hemochromatosis is also studied.
hepcidin, iron, hemochromatosis, anaemia, inflammation, acute phase proteins.