Immunoassay for human serum erythroferrone

Tomas Ganz, Grace Jung, Arash Naeim, Yelena Ginzburg, Zahra Pakbaz, Patrick B. Walter, Léon Kautz and Elizabeta Nemeth

Key Points

  • Human serum ERFE shows similar pathophysiological responses to mouse models.


Erythroferrone (ERFE) is a glycoprotein hormone secreted by erythroblasts in response to stimulation by erythropoietin (EPO). We previously demonstrated that ERFE messenger RNA expression and serum protein concentration increase in mice subjected to hemorrhage or EPO therapy, that ERFE acts on hepatocytes to suppress hepcidin, and that the resulting decrease in hepcidin augments iron delivery for intensified erythropoiesis. We also showed that ERFE contributes to pathological hepcidin suppression and iron overload in mice with nontransfused β-thalassemia. We now report the development and technical validation of a rabbit monoclonal antibody–based sandwich immunoassay for human ERFE. We use this assay to show that blood loss or EPO administration increases serum ERFE concentrations in humans, and that patients with both nontransfused and transfused β-thalassemia have very high serum ERFE levels, which decrease after blood transfusion. The assay should be useful for human studies of normal and disordered erythropoiesis and its effect on iron homeostasis.

  • Submitted April 4, 2017.
  • Accepted July 12, 2017.
View Full Text