Increased serum ferritin associated with mild hepatic iron accumulation, despite preserved upregulation of the iron hormone hepcidin, is frequently observed in patients with dysmetabolic overload syndrome (DIOS). Genetic factors andWestern diet represent predisposing conditions, but the mechanisms favoring iron accumulation in DIOS are still unclear. Aims of this study were to assess the effect a high-fat diet (HFD) on hepatic iron metabolismin an experimentalmodel in rats, to further characterize the effect of free fatty acids on iron metabolismin HepG2 hepatocytes in vitro, and to assess the translational relevance in patients with fatty liver with and without iron accumulation. Despite decreased uptake of dietary iron, rats fed HFD accumulated more hepatic iron than those fed regular diet, which was associated with steatosis development. Hepatic iron accumulation was paralleled by induction of ferritin, in the presence of preserved upregulation of hepcidin, recapitulating the features of DIOS. HFD was associated with increased expression of the major iron uptake protein Transferrin receptor-1 (TfR-1), consistently with upregulation of the intracellular iron sensor Iron regulated protein-1 (IRP1). Supplementation with fatty acids induced TfR-1 and IRP1 in HepG2 hepatocytes, favoring intracellular iron accumulation following exposure to iron salts. IRP1 silencing completely abrogated TfR-1 induction and the facilitation of intracellular iron accumulation induced by fatty acids. Hepatic TfR-1 mRNA levels were upregulated in patients with fatty liver and DIOS, whereas they were not associated with liver fat nor with inflammation. In conclusion, increased exposure to fatty acids subverts hepatic iron metabolism, favoring the induction of an iron uptake program despite hepatocellular iron accumulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)