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Iron Metabolism Lab  

Principal Investigators: Gaetano Cairo, Stefania Recalcati

Members: Elena Gammella, Alessandra Alberghini, Paolo Buratti

The group’s research activity is focused on:

Study of the molecular mechanisms that control the expression of proteins involved in iron metabolism. The group’s studies contributed to highlight the importance of changes in the regulation of the expression of proteins involved in iron metabolism in pathological conditions such as neoplastic and non-neoplastic cell proliferation, genetic hemochromatosis, oxidative stress, inflammation , metabolic liver diseases, stress erythropoiesis, and hypoxia. The research was carried out by integrating approaches in vitro and in vivo (including human studies through collaborations with italian and international clinical groups).

Currently, the research has its primary focus on two major research lines:

-   Iron and erythropoiesis. In collaboration with the University of Zurich, we are studying the molecular  mechanisms activated to sustain the high demand of iron needed for hemoglobin synthesis and erythroid cells proliferation in mice overexpressing human erythropoietin. In particular, the interest is aimed at understanding the regulation of the biosynthesis of hepcidin, the hormone that regulates systemic iron homeostasis.

-   Iron and inflammation. Our aim is to characterize the relationship between iron trafficking and the distinct functions of macrophage populations differently polarized. To this end, we created a model of genetically modified mice with selective inactivation of ferroportin, the protein that exports iron from cells, in the monocyte-macrophage lineage.


Recent Publications:

Robach P, Recalcati S, Girelli D, Gelfi C, Aachmann-Andersen N.J, Thomsen J.J, Norgaard A.M, Alberghini A, Campostrini N, Castagna A, Vigano A, Santambrogio P, Kempf T, Wollert K.C, Moutereau S, Lundby C, and Cairo G. Alterations of systemic and muscle iron metabolism in human subjects treated with low dose recombinant erythropoietin Blood (2009) 113, 6707-6715

Recalcati S., Locati M., Marini A., Santambrogio P., Zaninotto F., De Pizzol M., ZammataroL., Girelli D. and Cairo G. Differential regulation of iron homeostasis during human macrophage polarized activation Eur. J. Immunol. (2010) 40, 824-835

Recalcati S., Minotti G. and Cairo G. Iron regulatory proteins: from molecular mechanisms to drug development. Antioxid Redox Signal (2010) 13, 1593-1616

Cairo G., Recalcati S., Mantovani A., and Locati M. Macrophage iron trafficking and metabolism: contributions to the polarized phenotype Trends Immunol. (2011) 32, 241-247

Recalcati S., Locati M., Gammella E., Invernizzi P. and Cairo G Iron levels in polarized macrophages: Regulation of immunity and autoimmunity. Autoimmun. Rev. (2012) 11, 883-889

Recalcati S., Locati M. and Cairo G. Systemic and cellular consequences of macrophage control of iron metabolism. Semin. Immunol. (2012) 24, 393-398



Prof Cairo:  tel.02-50315350                gaetano.cairo@unimi.it

Dott. Recalcati/Lab.: tel.02-50315330   stefania.recalcati@unimi.it



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