Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have discovered a hormone called erythroferrone, which is produced in greater quantities when the body is low in red blood cells, such as after a bleed or as a result of anemia. Erythroferrone blocks hepcidin, another hormone that maintains iron balance and prevents excess absorption of it. By interfering with hepcidin, erythroferrone allows more iron to be made available for red blood cell production after a hemorrhage or if the body is iron deficient.
The discovery of erythroferrone could potentially lead to treatments for Cooley’s anemia, chronic kidney disease, and rheumatologic and other inflammatory diseases, say the investigators, whose study was published in the June 1 issue of the journal Nature Genetics. The next stage of research will focus on understanding erythroferrone’s role in blood diseases.
Source: UCLA press release