A Novel ALAS2 Missense Mutation in Two Brothers With Iron Overload and Associated Alterations in Serum Hepcidin/Erythroferrone Levels

Acaynne Lira Zidanes, Giacomo Marchi, Fabiana Busti, Alessandro Marchetto, Elisa Fermo, Alejandro Giorgetti, Alice Vianello, Annalisa Castagna, Oliviero Olivieri, Paola Bianchi, Domenico Girelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Iron loading anemias are characterized by ineffective erythropoiesis and iron overload. The prototype is non-transfusion dependent ß-thalassemia (NTDT), with other entities including congenital sideroblastic anemias, congenital dyserythropoietic anemias, some hemolytic anemias, and myelodysplastic syndromes. Differential diagnosis of iron loading anemias may be challenging due to heterogeneous genotype and phenotype. Notwithstanding the recent advances in linking ineffective erythropoiesis to iron overload, many pathophysiologic aspects are still unclear. Moreover, measurement of hepcidin and erythroferrone (ERFE), two key molecules in iron homeostasis and erythropoiesis, is scarcely used in clinical practice and of uncertain utility. Here, we describe a comprehensive diagnostic approach, including next-generation sequencing (NGS), in silico modeling, and measurement of hepcidin and erythroferrone (ERFE), in two brothers eventually diagnosed as X-linked sideroblastic anemia (XLSA). A novel pathogenic ALAS2 missense mutation (c.1382T>A, p.Leu461His) is described. Hyperferritinemia with high hepcidin-25 levels (but decreased hepcidin:ferritin ratio) and mild-to-moderate iron overload were detected in both patients. ERFE levels were markedly elevated in both patients, especially in the proband, who had a more expressed phenotype. Our study illustrates how new technologies, such as NGS, in silico modeling, and measurement of serum hepcidin-25 and ERFE, may help in diagnosing and studying iron loading anemias. Further studies on the hepcidin-25/ERFE axis in additional patients with XLSA and other iron loading anemias may help in establishing its usefulness in differential diagnosis, and it may also aid our understanding of the pathophysiology of these genetically and phenotypically heterogeneous entities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number581386
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 12 2020


  • ALAS2 gene
  • ERFE
  • hepcidin
  • in silico modeling
  • iron-loading anemias
  • next-generation sequencing
  • XLSA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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