Mechanisms of cardiac iron homeostasis and their importance to heart function.
Heart disease is a common manifestation in conditions of iron imbalance. Normal heart function requires coupling of iron supply for oxidative phosphorylation and redox signalling with tight control of intracellular iron to below levels at which excessive ROS are generated. Iron supply to the heart is dependent on systemic iron availability which is controlled by the systemic hepcidin/ferroportin axis. Intracellular iron in cardiomyocytes is controlled in part by the iron regulatory proteins IRP1/2. This mini-review summarises current understanding of how cardiac cells regulate intracellular iron levels, and of the mechanisms linking cardiac dysfunction with iron imbalance. It also highlights a newly-recognised mechanism of intracellular iron homeostasis in cardiomyocytes, based on a cell-autonomous cardiac hepcidin/ferroportin axis. This new understanding raises pertinent questions on the interplay between systemic and local iron control in the context of heart disease, and the effects on heart function of therapies targeting the systemic hepcidin/ferroportin axis.