Assessing erythroferrone and iron homeostasis in preeclamptic and normotensive pregnancies: A retrospective study

Zahra Masoumi, Lucas R. Hansson, Eva Hansson, Evelina Ahlm, Eva Mezey, Lena Erlandsson, Stefan R. Hansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Preeclampsia (PE) is a pregnancy-related disorder associated with maternal hypertension and placental dysfunction. A significant micronutrient during pregnancy is iron, which is important in cellular functions. While iron absorption increases in pregnancy, little is known about the exact mechanisms regulating maternal iron levels and transfer through the placenta in normal and complicated pregnancies. Methods: In this retrospective study, we investigated the regulation of maternal and placental iron availability and storage, in normotensive and pregnancies complicated by early- or late-onset PE. Methods used were analysis of clinical records, ELISA analysis on plasma samples, immunofluorescent and Prussian Blue analysis on placenta biopsies. Results: Focusing on erythroferrone (ERFE) as a new marker and hormonal regulator of iron, our results demonstrated altered maternal ERFE levels in PE. We are the first to report the expression of ERFE in trophoblasts and indicate its lower levels in early-onset PE placentas. These changes were associated with lower placental transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1) in syncytiotrophoblasts in both early- and late-onset PE. In addition, maternal plasma ERFE levels were elevated in both early- and late-onset PE and hepcidin levels reduced in early-onset PE. Unaltered maternal plasma IL-6 levels suggest mechanism other than inflammation being involved in altered iron regulation in PE pregnancy. Discussion: Our data supports a deregulation in maternal iron bioavailability in early- and late-onset PE vs normotensive pregnancies. The exact role of placental ERFE in regulating maternal-placental-fetal iron transport axis requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-18
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Mar 3

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine

Free keywords

  • Erythroferrone/iron homeostasis/preeclampsia/placenta


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