Unexplained isolated hyperferritinemia without iron overload

Giulia Ravasi, Sara Pelucchi, Raffaella Mariani, Marco Casati, F Greni, C Arosio, I Pelloni, S Majore, P Santambrogio, S Levi, Alberto Piperno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although hyperferritinemia may be reflective of elevated total body iron stores, there are conditions in which ferritin levels are disproportionately elevated relative to iron status. Autosomal dominant forms of hyperferritinemia due to mutations in the L−ferritin IRE or in A helix of L−ferritin gene have been described, however cases of isolated hyperferritinemia still remain unsolved. We describe 12 Italian subjects with unexplained isolated hyperferritinemia (UIH). Four probands have affected siblings, but no affected parents or offspring. Sequencing analyses did not identify casual mutations in ferritin gene or IRE regions. These patients had normal levels of intracellular ferritin protein and mRNA in peripheral blood cells excluding pathological ferritin production at transcriptional and post-transcriptional level. In contrast with individuals with benign hyperferritinemia caused by mutations affecting the ferritin A helix, low rather than high glycosylation of serum ferritin was observed in our UIH subjects compared with controls. These findings suggest that subjects with UIH have a previously undescribed form of hyperferritinemia possibly attributable to increased cellular ferritin secretion and/or decreased serum ferritin clearance. The cause remains to be defined and we can only speculate the existence of mutations in gene/s not directly implicated in iron metabolism that could affect ferritin turnover including ferritin secretion. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-343
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hematology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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