Main Article Content
Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) is an autosomal-recessive disorder of the iron metabolism. Patients are typically affected by dysregulated iron levels, which can lead to iron accumulation within essential organs, such as liver, heart and pancreas. Furthermore, many HH patients are also afflicted by several immune defects and increased occurrence of autoimmune diseases that are linked to human homeostatic iron regulator protein (HFE) in the immune response. Here we examined immune cell phenotype and function in 21 HH patients compared to 21 healthy controls with a focus on Natural Killer (NK) cells. We observed increased basal and stimulated production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β or IL-18 in HH patients compared to healthy controls. However, we did not find major changes in the phenotype, the amount or the cytotoxic function of NK cells in HH patients. Instead, our data show a general decrease in the total number of granulocytes in HH patients (2774 ± 958 per μl versus 3457 ± 1122 per μl in healthy controls). These data demonstrate that NK cells of HH patients are not significantly affected and that the patients’ treatment by regular phlebotomy is sufficient to avoid systemic iron overload and its consequences to the immune system.
Authors who publish in this journal agree to the following terms:
- The authors keep the copyright and grant the journal the right of first publication under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, CC BY 4.0. This licencse permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited.
- The use of general descriptive names, trade names, trademarks, and so forth in this publication, even if not specifically identified, does not imply that these names are not protected by the relevant laws and regulations.
- Because the advice and information in this journal are believed to be true and accurate at the time of publication, neither the authors, the editors, nor the publisher accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions presented in the publication. The publisher makes no guarantee, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein.
- The authors can enter into additional contracts for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version by citing the initial publication in this journal (e.g. publishing in an institutional repository or in a book).