Hereditary hemochromatosis is an iron overload disorder most commonly caused by a defect in the HFE gene. While the genetic defect is highly prevalent, the majority of individuals do not develop clinically significant iron overload, suggesting the importance of genetic modifiers. Murine hfe knockout models have demonstrated that strain background has a strong effect on the severity of iron loading. We noted that hepatic iron loading in hfe−/− mice occurs primarily over the first postnatal weeks (loading phase) followed by a timeframe of relatively static iron concentrations (plateau phase). We thus evaluated the effects of background strain and of age on hepatic gene expression in Hfe knockout mice (hfe−/−). Hepatic gene expression profiles were examined using cDNA microarrays in 4- and 8-week-old hfe−/− and wild-type mice on two different genetic backgrounds, C57BL/6J (C57) and AKR/J (AKR). Genes differentially regulated in all hfe−/− mice groups, compared with wild-type mice, including those involved in cell survival, stress and damage responses and lipid metabolism. AKR strain-specific changes in lipid metabolism genes and C57 strain-specific changes in cell adhesion and extracellular matrix protein genes were detected in hfe−/− mice. Mouse strain and age are each significantly associated with hepatic gene expression profiles in hfe−/− mice. These affects may underlie or reflect differences in iron loading in these mice.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism