Author(s): Song SN, Tomosugi N, Kawabata H, Ishikawa T, Nishikawa T,
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Abstract Dysregulated production of hepcidin is implicated in anemia of inflammation, whereas interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a major inducer of hepcidin production. Overproduction of IL-6 is responsible for pathogenesis of multicentric Castleman disease (MCD), a rare lymphoproliferative disorder accompanied by systemic inflammatory responses and anemia. In this study, we investigated the roles of hepcidin and IL-6 in anemia of inflammation and the long-term effects of anti-IL-6 receptor antibody (tocilizumab) treatment on serum hepcidin and iron-related parameters in MCD patients. We found that tocilizumab treatment resulted in a rapid reduction of serum hepcidin-25 in 5 of 6 MCD patients. Long-term reductions, accompanied by progressive normalization of iron-related parameters and symptom improvement, were observed in 9 of 9 cases 1.5, 3, 6, and 12 months after the start of tocilizumab treatment. In in vitro experiments, IL-6-induced up-regulation of hepcidin mRNA in hepatoma cell lines was completely inhibited by tocilizumab but increased in the presence of patients' sera. Our results suggest that, although multiple factors affect serum hepcidin levels, IL-6 plays an essential role in the induction of hepcidin in MCD. This accounts for the long-term ameliorative effect of IL-6 blockage with tocilizumab on anemia by inhibiting hepcidin production in MCD patients.
This article was published in Blood
and referenced in Rheumatology: Current Research