β-thalassemia is an inherited anemia characterized by ineffective erythropoiesis. Blood transfusions are required for survival in transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia and are also occasionally needed in patients with non-transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia. Patients with transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia often have elevated transferrin saturation (TSAT) and non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) levels, which can lead to organ iron overload, oxidative stress, and vascular damage. Vamifeport is an oral ferroportin inhibitor that was previously shown to ameliorate anemia, ineffective erythropoiesis, and dysregulated iron homeostasis in the Hbbth3/+ mouse model of β-thalassemia, under non-transfused conditions. Our study aimed to assess the effects of oral vamifeport on iron-related parameters (including plasma NTBI levels) and ineffective erythropoiesis following blood transfusions in Hbbth3/+ mice. A single dose of vamifeport prevented the transient transfusion-mediated NTBI increase in Hbbth3/+ mice. Compared with vehicle treatment, vamifeport significantly increased hemoglobin levels and red blood cell counts in transfused mice. Vamifeport treatment also significantly improved ineffective erythropoiesis in the spleens of Hbbth3/+ mice, with additive effects observed when treatment was combined with repeated transfusions. Vamifeport corrected leukocyte counts and significantly improved iron-related parameters (serum transferrin, TSAT and erythropoietin levels) versus vehicle treatment in Hbbth3/+ mice, irrespective of transfusion status. In summary, vamifeport prevented transfusion-mediated NTBI formation in Hbbth3/+ mice. When given alone or combined with blood transfusions, vamifeport also ameliorated anemia, ineffective erythropoiesis, and dysregulated iron homeostasis. Administering vamifeport together with repeated blood transfusions additively ameliorated anemia and ineffective erythropoiesis in this mouse model, providing preclinical proof-of-concept for the efficacy of combining vamifeport with blood transfusions in β-thalassemia.
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