Inflammation leads to functional iron deficiency by increasing the expression of the hepatic iron regulatory peptide hepcidin. Inflammation also stimulates fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) production by increasing both Fgf23 transcription and FGF23 cleavage, which paradoxically leads to excess in C-terminal FGF23 peptides (Cter-FGF23), rather than intact FGF23 (iFGF23) hormone. We determined that the major source of Cter-FGF23 is osteocytes and investigated whether Cter-FGF23 peptides play a direct role in the regulation of hepcidin and iron metabolism in response to acute inflammation. Mice harboring an osteocyte-specific deletion of Fgf23 showed a ∼90% reduction in Cter-FGF23 levels during acute inflammation. Reduction in Cter-FGF23 led to a further decrease in circulating iron in inflamed mice owing to excessive hepcidin production. We observed similar results in mice showing impaired FGF23 cleavage owing to osteocyte-specific deletion of Furin. We next showed that Cter-FGF23 peptides bind members of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family, BMP2 and BMP9, which are established inducers of hepcidin. Coadministration of Cter-FGF23 and BMP2 or BMP9 prevented the increase in Hamp messenger RNA and circulating hepcidin levels induced by BMP2/9, resulting in normal serum iron levels. Finally, injection of Cter-FGF23 in inflamed Fgf23KO mice and genetic overexpression of Cter-Fgf23 in wild type mice also resulted in lower hepcidin and higher circulating iron levels. In conclusion, during inflammation, bone is the major source of Cter-FGF23 secretion, and independently of iFGF23, Cter-FGF23 reduces BMP-induced hepcidin secretion in the liver.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology