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Molecular and cellular endocrinology

Iron overload induces hypogonadism in male mice via extrahypothalamic mechanisms.


PMID 28648620

Abstract

Iron overload leads to multiple organ damage including endocrine organ dysfunctions. Hypogonadism is the most common non-diabetic endocrinopathy in primary and secondary iron overload syndromes. To explore the molecular determinants of iron overload-induced hypogonadism with specific focus on hypothalamic derangements. A dysmetabolic male murine model fed iron-enriched diet (IED) and cell-based models of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons were used. Mice fed IED showed severe hypogonadism with a significant reduction of serum levels of testosterone (-83%) and of luteinizing hormone (-86%), as well as reduced body weight gain, body fat and plasma leptin. IED mice had a significant increment in iron concentration in testes and in the pituitary. Even if iron challenge of in vitro neuronal models (GN-11 and GT1-7 GnRH cells) resulted in 10- and 5-fold iron content increments, respectively, no iron content changes were found in vivo in hypothalamus of IED mice. Conversely, mice placed on IED showed a significant increment in hypothalamic GnRH gene expression (+34%) and in the intensity of GnRH-neuron innervation of the median eminence (+1.5-fold); similar changes were found in the murine model HFE IED-fed adult male mice show severe impairment of hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis without a relevant contribution of the hypothalamic compartment, which thus appears sufficiently protected from systemic iron overload.

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