Background: Acute malarial anemia remains a major public health problem. Hepcidin, the major hormone controlling the availability of iron, is raised during acute and asymptomatic parasitemia. Understanding the role and mechanism of raised hepcidin and so reduced iron availability during infection is critical to establish evidence-based guidelines for management of malaria anemia. Our recent clinical evidence suggests a potential role of IL-10 in the regulation of hepcidin in patients with acute P. falciparum malaria. Methods: We have measured secretion of hepcidin by primary macrophages and the hepatoma cell line HepG2 stimulated with IL-10, IL-6 and Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes. Findings: We have observed that IL-10 and IL-6 production increased in primary macrophages when these cells were co-cultured with Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes. We found that IL-10 induced hepcidin secretion in primary macrophages in a dose-dependent manner but not in HepG2 cells. These effects were mediated through signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3-phosphorylation and completely abrogated by a specific STAT3 inhibitor. Conclusion: IL-10 can directly regulate hepcidin in primary macrophages but not in HepG2 cells. This effect can be modulated by Plasmodium falciparum. The results are consistent with a role for IL-10 in modulating iron metabolism during acute phase of infection.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This article summarises independent research funded in part by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research Programme (Grant Reference Number RP-PG-0310-1004). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.