Ferroportin mRNA is down-regulated in granulosa and cervical cells from infertile women

Iron metabolism (as evidenced by the proxy marker ferroportin mRNA in granulosa and cervical cells and by circulating hepcidin) is altered in infertile women.

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Volume 107, Issue 1, Pages 236-242


José Maria Moreno-Navarrete, Ph.D., Eva López-Navarro, Ph.D., Luz Candenas, Ph.D., Francisco Pinto, Ph.D., Francisco J. Ortega, Ph.D., Mònica Sabater-Masdeu, M.Sc., Manuel Fernández-Sánchez, M.D., Ph.D., Victor Blasco, M.Sc., Antonio Romero-Ruiz, Ph.D., Marina Fontán, M.Sc., Wifredo Ricart, M.D., Ph.D., Manuel Tena-Sempere, M.D., Ph.D., José M. Fernández-Real, M.D., Ph.D.



To explore the relationship between iron and infertility by investigating iron-related gene expression in granulosa and uterine cervical cells.


Case-control study.


Two tertiary hospitals.


Two independent cohorts of fertile (n = 18 and n = 17) and infertile (n = 31 and n = 35) women.


In vitro fertilization.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Gene expression levels of ferritin light chain (FTL), ferritin heavy chain (FTH), transferrin receptor (TFRC), and ferroportin (SLC40A1) mRNA were analyzed in granulosa and cervical cells.


In the first cohort, fertile and infertile women were similar in body mass index. Ferroportin mRNA levels were decreased in granulosa cells from infertile women in parallel with increased serum hepcidin levels. A positive association between ferroportin and TFRC mRNA, a gene associated with intracellular iron deficiency, was observed only in granulosa cells from fertile women. The major findings were replicated in a second independent cohort.


Ferroportin mRNAs and circulating hepcidin identify a subset of infertile women and may constitute a target for therapy.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. 


Go to the profile of Amanda Kallen
over 4 years ago
Very interesting study. Could the authors comment a bit more on the context? Because ferroportin is responsible for transporting aborbed iron from inside to outside the cell, it would be interesting to know whether iron levels or levels of iron storage proteins differ between fertile and infertile women. Also, though most infertility patients were unexplained, the authors do mention that there are anovulatory and endometriosis patients in the sample - did the findings hold up when these patients were excluded? Intrigued by the findings and looking forward to future work.