Next Article in Journal
Special Issue: Enzyme Immobilization 2016
Next Article in Special Issue
Functional Assays in the Diagnosis of Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia: A Review
Previous Article in Journal
Engineering of Syndiotactic and Isotactic Polystyrene-Based Copolymers via Stereoselective Catalytic Polymerization
Previous Article in Special Issue
New Insights in Thrombin Inhibition Structure–Activity Relationships by Characterization of Octadecasaccharides from Low Molecular Weight Heparin
Article Menu
Issue 4 (April) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Molecules 2017, 22(4), 598;

Non-Anticoagulant Heparins Are Hepcidin Antagonists for the Treatment of Anemia

Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine, University of Brescia, Viale Europa 11, 25123 Brescia, Italy
G. Ronzoni Institute for Chemical and Biochemical Research, Milan 20133, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Diego Muñoz-Torrero
Received: 21 March 2017 / Revised: 6 April 2017 / Accepted: 6 April 2017 / Published: 8 April 2017
Full-Text   |   PDF [1257 KB, uploaded 8 April 2017]   |  


The peptide hormone hepcidin is a key controller of systemic iron homeostasis, and its expression in the liver is mainly regulated by bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), which are heparin binding proteins. In fact, heparins are strong suppressors of hepcidin expression in hepatic cell lines that act by inhibiting the phosphorylation of SMAD1/5/8 proteins elicited by the BMPs. The inhibitory effect of heparins has been demonstrated in cells and in mice, where subcutaneous injections of non-anticoagulant heparins inhibited liver hepcidin expression and increased iron bioavailability. The chemical characteristics for high anti-hepcidin activity in vitro and in vivo include the 2O-and 6O-sulfation and a molecular weight above 7 kDa. The most potent heparins have been found to be the super-sulfated ones, active in hepcidin suppression with a molecular weight as low as 4 kDa. Moreover, the alteration of endogenous heparan sulfates has been found to cause a reduction in hepcidin expression in vitro and in vivo, indicating that heparins act by interfering with the interaction between BMPs and components of the complex involved in the activation of the BMP/SMAD1/5/8 pathway. This review summarizes recent findings on the anti-hepcidin activity of heparins and their possible use for the treatment of anemia caused by hepcidin excess, including the anemia of chronic diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: heparin; hepcidin; iron homeostasis; anemia heparin; hepcidin; iron homeostasis; anemia

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Poli, M.; Asperti, M.; Ruzzenenti, P.; Naggi, A.; Arosio, P. Non-Anticoagulant Heparins Are Hepcidin Antagonists for the Treatment of Anemia. Molecules 2017, 22, 598.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Molecules EISSN 1420-3049 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top