Iron and steatohepatitis

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As the main iron storage site in the body and the main source of the iron-regulatory hormone, hepcidin, the liver plays a pivotal role in iron homeostasis. A variable degree of hepatic iron accumulation has long been recognized in a number of chronic liver diseases. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis display increased iron deposits in the liver, with an hepatocellular, mesenchymal, or mixed pattern, and recent reports have documented a concomitant aberrant hepcidin expression that could be linked to different coincidental pathogenic events (e.g. the etiological agent itself, necroinflammation, metabolic derangements, genetic predisposition). The present study reviews the pathogenic mechanisms of iron accumulation in steatohepatitis during alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver disease and the role of excess iron in chronic disease progression.

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