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posted on 2018-03-05, 10:26 authored by Antonio Layoun, Macha Samba-Mondonga, Gabriela Fragoso, Annie Calvé, Manuela M. Santos

Iron homeostasis is tightly regulated to provide virtually all cells in the body, particularly red blood cells, with this essential element while defending against its toxicity. The peptide hormone hepcidin is central to the control of the amount of iron absorbed from the diet and iron recycling from macrophages. Previously, we have shown that hepcidin induction in macrophages following Toll-like receptor (TLR) stimulation depends on the presence of myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88). In this study, we analyzed the regulation of iron metabolism in MyD88−/− mice to further investigate MyD88 involvement in iron sensing and hepcidin induction. We show that mice lacking MyD88 accumulate significantly more iron in their livers than wild-type counterparts in response to dietary iron loading as they are unable to appropriately control hepcidin levels. The defect was associated with inappropriately low levels of Smad4 protein and Smad1/5/8 phosphorylation in liver samples found in the MyD88−/− mice compared to wild-type mice. In conclusion, our results reveal a previously unknown link between MyD88 and iron homeostasis, and provide new insights into the regulation of hepcidin through the iron-sensing pathway.