Hepcidin is a small protein involved in iron metabolism that also exhibits antibacterial and antifungal activities. Since its discovery in 2000, hepcidin has been extensively studied in many research centers. Usage of natural and synthetic hepcidin inhibitors can be applied as a powerful therapeutic tool that targets multiple types of anemia. In addition, the protein itself has a potential to placate increased absorption of iron in patients with β-thalassemia. Previous studies have characterized mechanisms of hepcidin synthesis as well as its biological activity, however methods enabling estimation of its concentration in biological materials remain obscure. The physiological role of hepcidin in iron metabolism as well as methods of its determination in serum and urine samples are described in this paper. Furthermore, the possible role of hepcidin and its molecular antagonists in health improvement is considered.
Keywords: Iron, Hepcidin, Hepcidin assays, ELISA, SELDI-TOF-MS, Biological activity, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Hepcidin inhibitors, thalassemia
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