Proposed model for the L. amazonensis-induced downregulation of ferroportin expression in macrophages.

Macrophages infected by Leishmania amazonensis produce hepcidin, a peptide hormone that binds to the iron exporter ferroportin, inducing its internalization and degradation. This causes an increase in the macrophage cytosolic iron content, which includes the bioavailable labile iron pool and iron stored as a complex with ferritin. By an unknown mechanism, Fpn1 internalization and elevated cytosolic iron increases iron availability inside Leishmania-containing parasitophorous vacuoles, stimulating parasite growth.