The ferroportin-related disorder is an increasingly recognized cause of hereditary iron overload. Based on the in vitro behavior of different ferroportin mutant subsets, it was suggested that different forms of the disorder might exist in humans. We used MRI to address this question in vivo in 22 patients from four different pedigrees carrying different ferroportin mutations: A77D, N144H, G80S and Val 162del. We found that, based on the iron status of spleen and bone macrophages, two different forms of the disease can be identified: a classic, common form, characterized by hepatocyte, splenic macrophage and bone marrow macrophage iron retention in patients carrying the A77D, G80S and Val 162del ferroportin variants; a rarer non-classic form, associated with liver iron overload but normal spleen and bone marrow iron content in patients with the N144H mutation. The two forms are likely caused by lack- or gain-of-protein function, respectively. Interestingly, in treated patients with the classic form, the spleen and the spine show appreciable iron accumulation even when serum ferritin is normal and liver iron content low. In conclusion, MRI is a useful non-invasive diagnostic tool to categorize and diagnose the disorder, monitor the status of iron depletion and gain insights on its natural history and management.

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Blood Cells, Molecules and Diseases
Department of Internal Medicine

Pietrangelo, A, Corradini, E, Ferrara, F, Vegetti, A, de Jong, G, Luca Abbati, G, … Cerofolini, E. (2006). Magnetic resonance imaging to identify classic and nonclassic forms of ferroportin disease. Blood Cells, Molecules and Diseases, 37(3), 192–196. doi:10.1016/j.bcmd.2006.08.007