Renewed classification of primary iron overload syndromes based on Hep25/FP system

Background and aims

The clinical introduction of hepcidin25 (Hep25) has led to a more detailed understanding of its relationship with ferroportin (FP) and divalent metal transporter1 in primary iron overload syndromes (PIOSs). In 2012, we proposed a classification of PIOSs based on the Hep25/FP system, which consists of prehepatic aceruloplasminemia, hepatic hemochromatosis (HC), and posthepatic FP disease (FP-D). However, in consideration of accumulated evidence on PIOSs, we aimed to renew the classification.


We reviewed the 2012 classification and retrospectively renewed it according to new information on PIOSs.


Iron-loading anemia was included in PIOSs as a prehepatic form because of the newly discovered erythroferrone-induced suppression of Hep25, and the state of traditional FP-D was remodeled as the BIOIRON proposal. The key molecules responsible for prehepatic PIOSs are low transferrin saturation in aceruloplasminemia and increased erythroferrone production by erythroblasts in iron-loading anemia. Hepatic PIOSs comprise four genotypes of HC, in each of which the synthesis of Hep25 is inappropriately reduced in the liver. Hepatic Hep25 synthesis is adequate in posthepatic PIOSs; however, two mutant FP molecules may resist Hep25 differently, resulting in SLC40A1-HC and FP-D, respectively. PIOS phenotypes are diagnosed using laboratory tests, including circulating Hep25, followed by suitable treatments. Direct sequencing of the candidate genes may be outsourced to gene centers when needed. Laboratory kits for the prevalent mutations, such as C282Y, may be the first choice for a genetic analysis of HC in Caucasians.


The genetic background of PIOS differs in Caucasians and non-Caucasians.2 Therefore, physicians have to overcome differences in the global prevalence of PIOS in clinical practice. The Hep25/FP system classifies PIOSs as prehepatic ACP and ILA, hepatic HC, and posthepatic SLC40A1-HC and FP-D. The revised classification for PIOSs may be useful worldwide.

Journal reference:

Tatsumi, Y., et al. (2024). A Revised Classification of Primary Iron Overload Syndromes. Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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