Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #306519

Title: Iron biology, immunology, aging and obesity: four fields connected by the small peptide hormone, hepcidin

Author
item Dao, Maria Carlota - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Meydani, Simin - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University

Submitted to: Advances in Nutrition
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2013
Publication Date: 11/20/2013
Citation: Dao, M., Meydani, S.N. 2013. Iron biology, immunology, aging and obesity: four fields connected by the small peptide hormone, hepcidin. Advances in Nutrition. 4:602-617. DOI:10.3945/an.113.004424.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: It is well-known that obesity and aging have a negative impact on iron status and immune response, but little is known about the additional impact that obesity may have on iron homeostasis and immunity in the elderly. This question is relevant given the rising numbers of elderly obese individuals and the high prevalence of iron deficiency worldwide. Iron is essential for proper function of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Hepcidin, a peptide hormone that regulates cellular iron export, is essential for both iron homeostasis and immune response. Hepcidin regulation is necessary for the maintenance of iron homeostasis. In addition, immune cells require iron for proper function where hepcidin may also be playing an important role. In this review we summarize the evidence for hepcidin as a link between the fields of gerontology, obesity, iron biology and immunology. We also identify several gaps in knowledge and unanswered questions pertaining to iron homeostasis and immunity in obese populations. Finally, we review studies that have shown the impact of weight loss, focusing on calorie restriction, on iron homeostasis and immunity. These studies are important both in elucidating mechanistic links between obesity and health impairments and identifying possible approaches to target immune impairment and iron deficiency as co-morbidities of obesity.