Interactions between hepatic iron and lipid metabolism with possible relevance to steatohepatitis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



World Journal of Gastroenterology








Hepcidin; Iron; Lipids; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease/non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; Oxidative stress


The liver is an important site for iron and lipid metabolism and the main site for the interactions between these two metabolic pathways. Although conflicting results have been obtained, most studies support the hypothesis that iron plays a role in hepatic lipogenesis. Iron is an integral part of some enzymes and transporters involved in lipid metabolism and, as such, may exert a direct effect on hepatic lipid load, intrahepatic metabolic pathways and hepatic lipid secretion. On the other hand, iron in its ferrous form may indirectly affect lipid metabolism through its ability to induce oxidative stress and inflammation, a hypothesis which is currently the focus of much research in the field of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NAFLD/NASH). The present review will first discuss how iron might directly interact with the metabolism of hepatic lipids and then consider a new perspective on the way in which iron may have a role in the two hit hypothesis for the progression of NAFLD via ferroportin and the iron regulatory molecule hepcidin. The review concludes that iron has important interactions with lipid metabolism in the liver that can impact on the development of NAFLD/NASH. More defined studies are required to improve our understanding of these effects. © 2012 Baishideng.

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