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1.  Serum hepcidin levels and iron parameters in children with iron deficiency 
The Korean Journal of Hematology  2012;47(4):286-292.
Iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) are common nutritional disorders in children. Hepcidin, a peptide hormone produced in the liver, is a central regulator of systemic iron metabolism. We evaluated whether serum hepcidin levels can diagnose ID in children.
Sera from 59 children (23 males and 36 females; 5 months to 17 years) were analyzed for hepcidin-25 by ELISA. Patients were classified according to hemoglobin level and iron parameters as: IDA, (N=17), ID (N=18), and control (N=24).
Serum hepcidin, ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), transferrin saturation, and hemoglobin levels differed significantly between groups (P<0.0001). Serum hepcidin and ferritin levels (mean±SD) were 2.01±2.30 and 7.00±7.86, 7.72±8.03 and 29.35±24.01, 16.71±14.74 and 46.40±43.57 ng/mL in the IDA, ID, and control groups, respectively. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for serum hepcidin as a predictor of ID was 0.852 (95% CI, 0.755-0.950). Hepcidin ≤6.895 ng/mL had a sensitivity of 79.2% and specificity of 82.8% for the diagnosis of ID. Serum hepcidin levels were significantly correlated with ferritin, transferrin saturation, and hemoglobin levels and significantly negatively correlated with sTfR level and total iron binding capacity (P<0.0001).
Serum hepcidin levels are significantly associated with iron status and can be a useful indicator of ID. Further studies are necessary to validate these findings and determine a reliable cutoff value in children.
PMCID: PMC3538801  PMID: 23320008
Serum hepcidin; Iron deficiency; Children
2.  Evaluation of the First Commercial Hepcidin ELISA for the Differential Diagnosis of Anemia of Chronic Disease and Iron Deficiency Anemia in Hospitalized Geriatric Patients 
ISRN Hematology  2012;2012:567491.
Introduction. Anemia is a frequent problem in hospitalized geriatric patients, and the anemia of chronic disease (ACD) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) are the 2 most prevalent causes. The aim of the study was to assess the possible role of serum hepcidin in the differential diagnosis between ACD and IDA. Methods. We investigated serum hepcidin, iron status, anemia, and C-reactive protein in 39 consecutive geriatric patients with ACD and IDA. Serum hepcidin levels were determined using a commercial ELISA kit (DRG Instruments, Marburg, Germany). We also measured hepcidin in 26 healthy controls. Results. The serum hepcidin levels were not significantly higher in the 28 patients with ACD as compared to the 11 patients with IDA. Conclusions. The serum hepcidin levels measured using the commercial ELISA kit (DRG) do not appear to increase in older patients with ACD. It should be noted that an assay-specific problem could explain our results.
PMCID: PMC3302103  PMID: 22461996
3.  Decreased serum prohepcidin concentration in patients with polycythemia vera*  
Objective: Iron deficiency is a common complication in patients with polycythemia vera (PV). Hepcidin is a principal regulator of iron homeostasis. The aim of our study was to assess prohepcidin, a hepcidin precursor, and other iron status parameters in the serum of PV patients. Methods: The study was performed in 60 patients (F/M 26/34) aged 38~84 (66±10) years. The control group consisted of 20 healthy volunteers, age and sex matched. The following parameters were determined in blood serum samples: prohepcidin concentration, iron content, unsaturated iron binding capacity (UIBC), total iron binding capacity (TIBC), transferrin saturation (TfS), and concentrations of ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR). Results: All PV patients showed significantly lower levels of prohepcidin, higher levels of sTfR and TIBC compared to the control group. 40% of the patients from the study group showed concentrations of ferritin below the normal range and significantly lower levels of serum iron and TfS, and significantly higher levels of sTfR, UIBC and TIBC in comparison with the rest of the study group. In this group of patients, prohepcidin concentrations were significantly lower than those in other patients. Conclusion: The results indicate that PV patients suffer from iron metabolism disorders. The decreased serum level of prohepcidin in PV patients may be a result of iron deficiency.
PMCID: PMC2772882  PMID: 19882752
Polycythemia vera (PV); Iron metabolism; Prohepcidin; Hepcidin
4.  Urinary hepcidin level as an early predictor of iron deficiency in children: A case control study 
The ideal screening test would be capable of identifying iron deficiency in the absence of anemia. We tried to detect role of urinary hepcidin-25 level in early prediction of iron deficiency in children.
This is a case control study performed on 100 children in Hematology Unit of Pediatric Department, Zagazig University Hospital, Egypt. Our study included 25 cases of iron deficiency (ID) stage-1 (iron depletion), 25 cases ID stage-2 (iron-deficient erythropoiesis), 25 cases ID stage-3 (iron deficiency anemia) and 25 healthy children as a control group. Estimation of iron status parameters was done. Urinary hepcidin-25 level was detected.
Urinary hepcidin-25 level was significantly lower in all stages of iron deficiency than in control group, more significant reduction in its level was observed with the progress in severity of iron deficiency. Urinary hepcidin showed significant positive correlation with hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, hematocrit value, serum iron and ferritin and transferrin saturation. In contrary, it showed significant negative correlation with serum transferrin and total iron binding capacity.
Urinary hepcidin at cutoff point ≤0.94 nmol/mmol Cr could Predict ID stage-1 with sensitivity 88% and specificity 88%. Cutoff point ≤0.42 nmol/mmol Cr could predict ID stage-2 with sensitivity 96% and specificity 92%. Cutoff point ≤0.08 nmol/mmol Cr could Predict ID stage-3 with Sensitivity 96% and specificity 100%.
We can conclude that detection of urinary hepcidin-25 level was a simple and non invasive test and could predict iron deficiency very early, before appearance of hematological affections.
PMCID: PMC3170260  PMID: 21834952
5.  Effect of iron deficiency anemia and its treatment on cell mediated immunity 
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is one of the most prevalent micronutrient deficiencies particularly in the developing countries. While there is evidence of an altered immune profile in iron deficiency, the exact immunoregulatory role of iron is not known. Knowledge particularly in children, who are vulnerable to iron deficiency and infection, is lacking. We aimed to study the effects of IDA and its treatment with oral iron supplementation on cell-mediated immunity. The levels of T-lymphocytes, their CD4+, CD8+ and CD1a+ subsets, transferrin receptor (CD71) and serum ferritin were evaluated in 40 iron-deficient and 40 healthy children. The impact of oral iron supplementation for three months on the same parameters was also noted in children with IDA. The level of mature T-lymphocytes (CD4+ and CD8+) was significantly lower (P<0.001) while that of the immature T-cells (CD1a+) was significantly higher (p<0.001) in IDA children compared to the control. The mature T-cell count was significantly improved after iron therapy. In spite of significant reduction in the immature T-cells (CD1a+) level after iron supplementation, it was significantly higher than the control. The present study demonstrated that T-lymphocytes maturation was defective in IDA and improved partially after 3 months of iron supplementation. Therefore, longer time of iron therapy may be required to induce complete maturation of T-lymphocytes.
PMCID: PMC3452958  PMID: 23100979
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA); Immunity; Micronutrient deficiency; T-lymphocytes
6.  Serum Hepcidin Levels and Reticulocyte Hemoglobin Concentrations as Indicators of the Iron Status of Peritoneal Dialysis Patients 
Hepcidin is the key mediator of renal anemia, and reliable measurement of serum hepcidin levels has been made possible by the ProteinChip system. We therefore investigated the iron status and serum hepcidin levels of peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients who had not received frequent doses of an erythrocytosis-stimulating agent (ESA) and had not received iron therapy. In addition to the usual iron parameters, the iron status of erythrocytes can be determined by measuring reticulocyte hemoglobin (RET-He). The mean serum hepcidin level of the PD patients (n = 52) was 80.7 ng/mL. Their serum hepcidin levels were significantly positively correlated with their serum ferritin levels and transferrin saturation (TSAT) levels, but no correlations were found between their serum hepcidin levels and RET-He levels, thereby suggesting that hepcidin has no effect on the iron dynamics of reticulocytes. Since low serum levels of CRP and IL-6, biomarkers of inflammation, were not correlated with the serum hepcidin levels, there is likely to be a threshold for induction of hepcidin expression by inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3501962  PMID: 23193472
7.  Low Hepcidin Levels in Severely Anemic Malawian Children with High Incidence of Infectious Diseases and Bone Marrow Iron Deficiency 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e78964.
A reliable diagnostic biomarker of iron status is required for severely anemic children living in malarious areas because presumptive treatment with iron may increase their infection risk if they are not iron deficient. Current biomarkers are limited because they are altered by host inflammation. In this study hepcidin concentrations were assessed in severely anemic children living in a highly malarious area of Malawi and evaluated against bone marrow iron in order to determine the usefulness of hepcidin as a point of care test.
207 severely anemic children were assessed for levels of hepcidin, ferritin, serum transferrin receptor, erythropoietin, hematological indices, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, malaria parasites and HIV infection. Deficiency of bone marrow iron stores was graded and erythroblast iron incorporation estimated. Interaction of covariates was assessed by structural-equation-modeling.
Results and Conclusion
Hepcidin was a poor predictor of bone marrow iron deficiency (sensitivity 66.7%; specificity 48.5%), and of iron incorporation (sensitivity 54.2%; specificity 61.8%), and therefore would have limitations as a point of care test in this category of children. As upregulation of hepcidin by inflammation and iron status was blunted by erythropoietin in this population, enhanced iron absorption through the low hepcidin values may increase infection risk. Current recommendations to treat all severely anemic children living in malarious areas with iron should therefore be reconsidered.
PMCID: PMC3855157  PMID: 24339866
8.  An Insight into the Relationships between Hepcidin, Anemia, Infections and Inflammatory Cytokines in Pediatric Refugees: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e4030.
Hepcidin, a key regulator of iron homeostasis, is increased in response to inflammation and some infections, but the in vivo role of hepcidin, particularly in children with iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is unclear. We investigated the relationships between hepcidin, cytokines and iron status in a pediatric population with a high prevalence of both anemia and co-morbid infections.
Methodology/Principal Findings
African refugee children <16 years were consecutively recruited at the initial post-resettlement health check with 181 children meeting inclusion criteria. Data on hematological parameters, cytokine levels and co-morbid infections (Helicobacter pylori, helminth and malaria) were obtained and urinary hepcidin assays performed. The primary outcome measure was urinary hepcidin levels in children with and without iron deficiency (ID) and/or ID anaemia (IDA). The secondary outcome measures included were the relationship between co-morbid infections and (i) ID and IDA, (ii) urinary hepcidin levels and (iii) cytokine levels. IDA was present in 25/181 (13.8%). Children with IDA had significantly lower hepcidin levels (IDA median hepcidin 0.14 nmol/mmol Cr (interquartile range 0.05–0.061) versus non-IDA 2.96 nmol/mmol Cr, (IQR 0.95–6.72), p<0.001). Hemoglobin, log-ferritin, iron, mean cell volume (MCV) and transferrin saturation were positively associated with log-hepcidin levels (log-ferritin beta coefficient (β): 1.30, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.57) and transferrin was inversely associated (β: −0.12, 95% CI −0.15 to −0.08). Cytokine levels (including IL-6) and co-morbid infections were not associated with IDA or hepcidin levels.
This is the largest pediatric study of the in vivo associations between hepcidin, iron status and cytokines. Gastro-intestinal infections (H. pylori and helminths) did not elevate urinary hepcidin or IL-6 levels in refugee children, nor were they associated with IDA. Longitudinal and mechanistic studies of IDA will further elucidate the role of hepcidin in paediatric iron regulation.
PMCID: PMC2603326  PMID: 19107209
9.  Iron Deficiency Anaemia among Pre-School Children with Sickle Cell Anaemia: Still a Rare Diagnosis? 
The frequent need for blood transfusion in children with SCA creates the impression that IDA is rare in this class of children.
The objective of the study is to determine the prevalence of IDA in a population of under-five children with SCA in Lagos, Nigeria.
Serum iron, total iron binding capacity, transferrin saturation and serum ferritin were assayed in 97 under-five children with SCAand 97 age/sex matched controls.
The diagnosis of IDA was established based on the following criteria: haemoglobin <11.0 g/dl plus two or more of the following: MCV <70fl, transferrin saturation (Ts) <16% or serum ferritin (SF) <25ng/dL
Overall prevalence of IDA was significantly higher among AA controls. In the younger age group, the prevalence of IDA was significantly higher among HbAA controls while in the older age group the odds of having IDA was three times higher among HbSS subjects but the difference was not statistically significant. Two of the three SCA children with IDA have history of previous blood transfusion.
IDA is uncommon in pre-school aged children with SCA. A multi-centre study is necessary to yield large number of transfused subjects to examine the effects of blood transfusion on prevalence of IDA.
PMCID: PMC3867223  PMID: 24363884
10.  Serum Prohepcidin Levels in Helicobacter Pylori Infected Patients with Iron Deficiency Anemia 
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection appears to subvert the human iron regulatory mechanism and thus upregulates hepcidin, resulting in unexplained iron-deficiency anemia (IDA). We evaluated serum prohepcidin levels before and after eradication of H. pylori in IDA patients to assess whether it plays a role in IDA related to H. pylori infection.
Subjects diagnosed with unexplained IDA underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and colonoscopy to confirm H. pylori infection and to exclude gastrointestinal bleeding. Blood was sampled before treatment to eradicate H. pylori and again 1 month later. Serum prohepcidin levels were measured using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit.
Serum prohepcidin levels decreased significantly after oral iron replacement combined with H. pylori eradication (p = 0.011). The reduction ratio of serum prohepcidin levels after the treatment did not differ among the combined oral iron replacement and H. pylori eradication groups, the H. pylori eradication only group, and the iron replacement only group (p = 0.894).
Serum prohepcidin levels decrease after both H. pylori eradication and oral iron administration, with improvement in IDA. Serum concentration of prohepcidin is related to the anemia status, rather than to the current status of H. pylori infection, in IDA patients.
PMCID: PMC2880694  PMID: 20526394
Prohepcidin; Anemia, iron-deficiency; Helicobacter pylori
11.  Iron status, inflammation and hepcidin in ESRD patients: The confounding role of intravenous iron therapy 
Indian Journal of Nephrology  2010;20(3):125-131.
Uremia is a state of heightened inflammatory activation. This might have an impact on several parameters including anemia management. Inflammation interferes with iron utilization in chronic kidney disease through hepcidin. We studied the body iron stores, degree of inflammatory activation, and pro-hepcidin levels in newly diagnosed patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and compared them with normal population. In addition to clinical examination and anthropometry, the levels of iron, ferritin, C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor alfa, interleukin-6, and prohepcidin were estimated. A total of 74 ESRD patients and 52 healthy controls were studied. The ESRD patients had a significantly lower estimated body fat percentage, muscle mass, and albumin; and higher transferrin saturation (TSAT) and raised serum ferritin. Inflammatory activation was evident in the ESRD group as shown by the significantly higher CRP, IL-6, and TNF-α levels. The pro-hepcidin levels were also increased in this group. Half of the ESRD patients had received parenteral iron before referral. Patients who had received intravenous iron showed higher iron, ferritin, and TSAT levels. These patients also showed more marked inflammatory activation, as shown by the significantly higher CRP, TNF-α, and IL-6 levels. We conclude that our ESRD patients showed marked inflammatory activation, which was more pronounced in patients who had received IV iron. High hepcidin levels could explain the functional iron deficiency. The cause of the relatively greater degree of inflammatory activation as well as the relationship with IV iron administration needs further studies.
PMCID: PMC2966977  PMID: 21072151
Anemia; end-stage renal disease; hepcidin; inflammation; intravenous iron
12.  Iron Status and Systemic Inflammation, but Not Gut Inflammation, Strongly Predict Gender-Specific Concentrations of Serum Hepcidin in Infants in Rural Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57513.
Hepcidin regulation by competing stimuli such as infection and iron deficiency has not been studied in infants and it’s yet unknown whether hepcidin regulatory pathways are fully functional in infants. In this cross-sectional study including 339 Kenyan infants aged 6.0±1.1 months (mean±SD), we assessed serum hepcidin-25, biomarkers of iron status and inflammation, and fecal calprotectin. Prevalence of inflammation, anemia, and iron deficiency was 31%, 71%, 26%, respectively. Geometric mean (±SD) serum hepcidin was 6.0 (±3.4) ng/mL, and was significantly lower in males than females. Inflammation (C-reactive protein and interleukin-6) and iron status (serum ferritin, zinc protoporphyrin and soluble transferrin receptor) were significant predictors of serum hepcidin, explaining nearly 60% of its variance. There were small, but significant differences in serum hepcidin comparing iron deficient anemic (IDA) infants without inflammation to iron-deficient anemic infants with inflammation (1.2 (±4.9) vs. 3.4 (±4.9) ng/mL; P<0.001). Fecal calprotectin correlated with blood/mucus in the stool but not with hepcidin. Similarly, the gut-linked cytokines IL-12 and IL-17 did not correlate with hepcidin. We conclude that hepcidin regulatory pathways are already functional in infancy, but serum hepcidin alone may not clearly discriminate between iron-deficient anemic infants with and without infection. We propose gender-specific reference values for serum hepcidin in iron-replete infants without inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3583867  PMID: 23460869
13.  Cocaine, Anemia, and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Children: A Longitudinal Study 
This longitudinal study investigated the rates of iron-deficiency (ID) and iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) among prenatally cocaine-exposed and nonexposed two- and four-year-old children and assessed their relationships to neurodevelopmental outcomes. The sample consisted of 143 two-year-old (70 exposed and 73 nonexposed) and 274 four-year-old (139 exposed and 135 nonexposed) low socioeconomic status children recruited from an ongoing longitudinal study. Hematological assessments included hemoglobin, serum ferritin, mean corpuscular volume, transferrin saturation, and blood lead levels. The neurodevelopmental outcomes consisted of the Bayley Mental (MDI) and Motor (PDI) Development indices at two years, and the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence (WPPSI) and the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales (PDMS) at four years. The rate of IDA in four-year-old children was significantly greater among the cocaine-exposed compared to the nonexposed group (p = .026), while the rates at two years were not significant. Exposure to IDA at two years was associated with a significant decrease in concurrent motor scores (p = .011) after adjustment for relevant covariates. Peak exposure to IDA, defined as being anemic at 2 and/or 4 years of age, was associated with a significant (p < .05) decrease in Full Scale IQ after adjustment. Cocaine exposure was not a significant predictor of Full Scale IQ with the inclusion of peak IDA and lead in the model. These findings indicate the need for greater pediatric surveillance of IDA and lead in cocaine-exposed infants, in order to reduce long-term neuropsychological deficits.
PMCID: PMC2596987  PMID: 14767350
iron-deficiency; lead; prenatal cocaine-exposure; children; neurodevelopment
14.  Decreased Serum Hepcidin Concentration Correlates with Brain Iron Deposition in Patients with HBV-Related Cirrhosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65551.
Excessive brain iron accumulation contributes to cognitive impairments in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related cirrhotic patients. The underlying mechanism remains unclear. Hepcidin, a liver-produced, 25-aminoacid peptide, is the major regulator of systemic iron metabolism. Abnormal hepcidin level is a key factor in some body iron accumulation or deficiency disorders, especially in those associated with liver diseases. Our study was aimed to explore the relationship between brain iron content in patients with HBV-related cirrhosis and serum hepcidin level.
Seventy HBV-related cirrhotic patients and forty age- sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled. Brain iron content was quantified by susceptibility weighted phase imaging technique. Serum hepcidin as well as serum iron, serum transferrin, ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor, total iron binding capacity, and transferrin saturation were tested in thirty cirrhotic patients and nineteen healthy controls. Pearson correlation analysis was performed to investigate correlation between brain iron concentrations and serum hepcidin, or other iron parameters.
Cirrhotic patients had increased brain iron accumulation compared to controls in the left red nuclear, the bilateral substantia nigra, the bilateral thalamus, the right caudate, and the right putamen. Cirrhotic patients had significantly decreased serum hepcidin concentration, as well as lower serum transferring level, lower total iron binding capacity and higher transferrin saturation, compared to controls. Serum hepcidin level negatively correlated with the iron content in the right caudate, while serum ferritin level positively correlated with the iron content in the bilateral putamen in cirrhotic patients.
Decreased serum hepcidin level correlated with excessive iron accumulation in the basal ganglia in HBV-related cirrhotic patients. Our results indicated that systemic iron overload underlined regional brain iron repletion. Serum hepcidin may be a clinical biomarker for brain iron deposition in cirrhotic patients, which may have therapeutic potential.
PMCID: PMC3679136  PMID: 23776499
15.  Effectiveness of zinc protoporphyrin/heme ratio for screening iron deficiency in preschool-aged children 
Hemoglobin and zinc protoporphyrin (ZPP) tests are commonly used to screen for iron deficiency, but little research has been done to systematically evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of these two tests. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of zinc protoporphyrin/heme (ZPP/H) ratio as a point-of-service screening test for iron deficiency among preschool-aged children by comparing the sensitivity and specificity of hemoglobin, ZPP/H ratio, and serum ferritin (SF). Also completed were assessments for the prevalence of anemia, iron deficiency (ID), and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) with indicators of ferritin models. This study was carried out with 95 children ages 3 to 6 y. Anthropometric measurements were assessed, and blood samples were analyzed for hemoglobin, SF, transferrin saturation (TS), and ZPP. Anemia was common and the prevalences of anemia, ID, and IDA were 14.7%, 12.6%, and 5.2%, respectively. The ZPP/H ratio was strongly and significantly correlated with hemoglobin. And ZPP/H ratio was a more sensitive test for ID than hemoglobin or SF measurement, correctly identifying more than twice as many iron-deficient children (sensitivity of 91.7%, compared to 41.7% for hemoglobin and SF). However, ZPP/H ratio had lower specificity (60.2%, compared to 89.1% for hemoglobin or 96.4% for SF) and resulted in the false identification of more subjects who actually were not iron deficient than did hemoglobin or SF. Low hemoglobin concentration is a late-stage indicator of ID, but ZPP/H ratio can detect ID at early stages and can be performed easily at a relatively low cost. Therefore, ZPP/H ratio can serve as a potential screening test for pre-anemic iron deficiency in community pediatric practices.
PMCID: PMC3061269  PMID: 21487495
ZPP/Heme ratio; iron deficiency; preschool children; sensitivity; specificity
16.  A Strong Anti-Inflammatory Signature Revealed by Liver Transcription Profiling of Tmprss6−/− Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69694.
Control of systemic iron homeostasis is interconnected with the inflammatory response through the key iron regulator, the antimicrobial peptide hepcidin. We have previously shown that mice with iron deficiency anemia (IDA)-low hepcidin show a pro-inflammatory response that is blunted in iron deficient-high hepcidin Tmprss6 KO mice. The transcriptional response associated with chronic hepcidin overexpression due to genetic inactivation of Tmprss6 is unknown. By using whole genome transcription profiling of the liver and analysis of spleen immune-related genes we identified several functional pathways differentially expressed in Tmprss6 KO mice, compared to IDA animals and thus irrespective of the iron status. In the effort of defining genes potentially targets of Tmprss6 we analyzed liver gene expression changes according to the genotype and independently of treatment. Tmprss6 inactivation causes down-regulation of liver pathways connected to immune and inflammatory response as well as spleen genes related to macrophage activation and inflammatory cytokines production. The anti-inflammatory status of Tmprss6 KO animals was confirmed by the down-regulation of pathways related to immunity, stress response and intracellular signaling in both liver and spleen after LPS treatment. Opposite to Tmprss6 KO mice, Hfe−/− mice are characterized by iron overload with inappropriately low hepcidin levels. Liver expression profiling of Hfe−/− deficient versus iron loaded mice show the opposite expression of some of the genes modulated by the loss of Tmprss6. Altogether our results confirm the anti-inflammatory status of Tmprss6 KO mice and identify new potential target pathways/genes of Tmprss6.
PMCID: PMC3726786  PMID: 23922777
17.  Expression of growth differentiation factor 15 is not elevated in individuals with iron deficiency secondary to volunteer blood donation 
Transfusion  2010;50(7):1532-1535.
Low serum hepcidin levels provide a physiologic response to iron demand in patients with iron deficiency (ID). Based on a discovery of suppressed hepcidin expression by a cytokine named growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), it was hypothesized that GDF15 may suppress hepcidin expression in humans with ID due to blood loss.
To test this hypothesis, GDF15 and hepcidin levels were measured in peripheral blood from subjects with iron-deficient erythropoiesis before and after iron supplementation.
Iron variables and hepcidin levels were significantly suppressed in iron-deficient blood donors compared to healthy volunteers. However, ID was not associated with elevated serum levels of GDF15. Instead, iron-deficient subjects’ GDF15 levels were slightly lower than those measured in the control group of subjects (307 ± 90 and 386 ± 104 pg/mL, respectively). Additionally, GDF15 levels were not significantly altered by iron repletion.
ID due to blood loss is not associated with a significant change in serum levels of GDF15.
PMCID: PMC3282986  PMID: 20210929
18.  Iron and Ferritin Levels in Saliva of Patients with Thalassemia and Iron Deficiency Anemia 
Most of the techniques for measuring iron stores such as serum iron concentration, iron binding capacity, serum ferritin level, liver biopsy can be troublesome or invasive for patients with thalassemia. The salivary iron measurement could be of potential advantage being an easy and non invasive approach for diagnosis of iron deficiency and iron overload . The aim of this study was to compare the levels of iron and ferritin in saliva and serum of patients affected by thalassemia or iron deficiency anemia. For this purpose, 96 patients with iron overload (71 with thalassemia major, 10 with thalassemia intermedia and 15 with thalassemia trait), 30 patients with iron deficiency anemia, and 35 healthy children as control group were involved in this study. Their saliva and serum iron and ferritin levels were measured. Iron and ferritin levels were higher in iron overload groups than in control group and lower in iron deficiency group (p<0.05). Furthermore serum and saliva iron and ferritin levels paralleled in all groups. In conclusion, iron and ferritin saliva can be routinely used for diagnosis of both iron overload and deficiency; furthermore this procedure may be an important advantage for blood donors being easily available and not invasive.
PMCID: PMC3435124  PMID: 22973495
19.  Blood cadmium is elevated in iron deficient U.S. children: a cross-sectional study 
Environmental Health  2013;12:117.
Cadmium (Cd), a widespread environmental contaminant, and iron deficiency (ID), the most common nutrient deficiency in the world, are known risk factors for neurodevelopmental delays, as well as other disorders, in infants and children. Studies assessing the cumulative effects of these factors are lacking in children, despite concerns of increased uptake of metals in the presence of ID. Here we sought to determine if blood and urine Cd levels were elevated in ID children compared to non-ID children.
Data for 5224 children, aged 3–19 years, were obtained from the 1999–2002 NHANES. ID was defined as ≥2 of 3 abnormal iron indicators (low serum ferritin [SF], high free erythrocyte protoporphyrin [FEP], low % transferrin saturation [TSAT]); ID anemia (IDA) was defined as ID plus low hemoglobin (Hgb). Logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between ID, IDA, and abnormal iron indicators and categories of blood and urine Cd.
Adjusted odds of ID, IDA, low SF, and low TSAT were associated with increasing category of blood Cd but not urine Cd. Adjusted ORs (95% CI) for blood Cd ≥0.5 μg/L versus < LOD were = 1.74 (1.30-2.34), 4.02 (1.92-8.41), 4.08 (2.36-5.89) and 1.78 (1.32-2.39), for ID, IDA, low SF, and low TSAT, respectively. Age and sex specific analyses of blood Cd and ID/abnormal iron indicators revealed that the observed associations were strongest in females aged 16–19 years.
Given their shared neurotoxic effects in children, and that many people live in areas with high burdens of both ID and Cd, more research into the complex relationships between nutrient deficiencies and environmental toxicants is vital.
PMCID: PMC3883480  PMID: 24373608
Cadmium; Iron deficiency; Anemia; Serum ferritin; Free erythrocyte protoporphyrin; Transferrin saturation; NHANES; CDC
20.  Serum Pro-hepcidin Could Reflect Disease Activity in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2010;25(3):348-352.
The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between serum pro-hepcidin concentration and the anemia profiles of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to estimate the pro-hepcidin could reflect the disease activity of RA. RA disease activities were measured using Disease Activity Score 28 (DAS28), tender/swollen joint counts, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and C-reactive protein (CRP). Anemia profiles such as hemoglobin, iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), ferritin, and transferrin levels were measured. Serum concentration of pro-hepcidin, the prohormone of hepcidin, was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Mean concentration of serum pro-hepcidin was 237.6±67.9 ng/mL in 40 RA patients. The pro-hepcidin concentration was correlated with rheumatoid factor, CRP, ESR, and DAS28. There was a significant correlation between pro-hepcidin with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6. The pro-hepcidin concentration was significantly higher in the patients with active RA (DAS28>5.1) than those with inactive to moderate RA (DAS28≤5.1). However, the pro-hepcidin concentration did not correlate with the anemia profiles except hemoglobin level. There was no difference of pro-hepcidin concentration between the patients with anemia of chronic disease and those without. In conclusion, serum concentration of pro-hepcidin reflects the disease activity, regardless of the anemia states in RA patients, thus it may be another potential marker for disease activity of RA.
PMCID: PMC2826733  PMID: 20191031
Arthritis, Rheumatoid; Anemia; Hepcidin; Prohepcidin
21.  Tubular reabsorption and local production of urine hepcidin-25 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:70.
Hepcidin is a central regulator of iron metabolism. Serum hepcidin levels are increased in patients with renal insufficiency, which may contribute to anemia. Urine hepcidin was found to be increased in some patients after cardiac surgery, and these patients were less likely to develop acute kidney injury. It has been suggested that urine hepcidin may protect by attenuating heme-mediated injury, but processes involved in urine hepcidin excretion are unknown.
To assess the role of tubular reabsorption we compared fractional excretion (FE) of hepcidin-25 with FE of β2-microglobulin (β2m) in 30 patients with various degrees of tubular impairment due to chronic renal disease. To prove that hepcidin is reabsorbed by the tubules in a megalin-dependent manner, we measured urine hepcidin-1 in wild-type and kidney specific megalin-deficient mice. Lastly, we evaluated FE of hepcidin-25 and β2m in 19 patients who underwent cardiopulmonary bypass surgery. Hepcidin was measured by a mass spectrometry assay (MS), whereas β2m was measured by ELISA.
In patients with chronic renal disease, FE of hepcidin-25 was strongly correlated with FE of β2m (r = 0.93, P <0.01). In megalin-deficient mice, urine hepcidin-1 was 7-fold increased compared to wild-type mice (p < 0.01) indicating that proximal tubular reabsorption occurs in a megalin- dependent manner. Following cardiac surgery, FE of hepcidin-25 increased despite a decline in FE of β2m, potentially indicating local production at 12–24 hours.
Hepcidin-25 is reabsorbed by the renal tubules and increased urine hepcidin-25 levels may reflect a reduction in tubular uptake. Uncoupling of FE of hepcidin-25 and β2m in cardiac surgery patients suggests local production.
PMCID: PMC3623618  PMID: 23531037
AKI; β2-microglobulin; Hepcidin; Megalin; Kidney tubules
22.  Hepcidin response to acute iron intake and chronic iron loading in dysmetabolic iron overload syndrome 
The pathogenesis of dysmetabolic iron overload syndrome (DIOS) is still unclear. Hepcidin is the key regulator of iron homeostasis controlling iron absorption and macrophage release.
To investigate hepcidin regulation by iron in DIOS.
We analysed urinary hepcidin at baseline and 24 h after a 65 mg oral iron dose in 24 patients at diagnosis and after iron depletion (n=13) and compared data with those previously observed in 23 healthy controls. Serum iron indices, liver histology and metabolic data were available for all patients.
At diagnosis, hepcidin values were significantly higher than in controls (P<0.001). After iron depletion, hepcidin levels decreased to normal values in all patients. At baseline, a significant response of hepcidin to iron challenge was observed only in the subgroup with lower basal hepcidin concentration (P=0.007). In iron-depleted patients, urinary hepcidin significantly increased after oral iron test (P=0.006).
Ours findings suggest that in DIOS, the progression of iron accumulation is counteracted by the increase in hepcidin production and progressive reduction of iron absorption, explaining why these patients develop a mild–moderate iron overload that tends to a plateau.
PMCID: PMC4048852  PMID: 21733088
23.  Iron Profile in Children with Behavioural Disorders: A Prospective Study in a Tertiary Care Hospital in North India 
Iron deficiency anemia is the most frequent micronutrient deficiency in the developing countries like India especially affecting pregnant women and young children. Iron is an essential element involved in myelin formation, neurotransmitter synthesis and neuro-metabolism. Several behavioural disturbances have been reported in iron deficient children. In the present study, we determined the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in children with behavioural disorders and assessed the improvement in terms of symptoms (by child behaviour check list), haematological parameters and iron status after treatment with oral iron. In this prospective study, 44 children in the age group of 3–12 years who were diagnosed with behavioural disorders were evaluated. Complete blood counts using automated hematology analyzer and iron parameters (serum iron, total iron binding capacity, % transferrin saturation and serum ferritin) were measured in all the patients to assess the prevalence of iron deficiency in these children. Thirty age matched controls were also studied. Iron deficiency was found in 32 (73%) children, as assessed by transferrin saturation <16% and/or serum ferritin <16 μg/l. Following treatment with iron for 100 ± 10 days, there was a statistically (P ≤ 0.05) significant improvement in the clinical features, haematological profile and iron status. The presence of iron deficiency in children with behavioural disorders and subsequent improvement in clinical features, haematological profile and iron status suggests a possible causal relationship between iron deficiency and behavioural disorders.
PMCID: PMC3136663  PMID: 22654296
Iron deficiency; Behavioural disorders; Children
24.  Iron-Refractory Iron Deficiency Anemia: New Molecular Mechanisms 
Kidney international  2009;76(11):1137-1141.
Iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia. In end-stage renal disease (ESRD), iron deficiency impairs the therapeutic efficacy of recombinant erythropoietin. Oral or parental iron supplements usually are effective in treating iron deficiency anemia (IDA). Some patients, however, respond poorly to iron supplements and are diagnosed as having iron-refractory iron deficiency anemia (IRIDA). The disease represents a medical challenge but its underlying mechanism was unclear. Hepcidin is a central player in iron homeostasis. It down-regulates the iron exporter ferroportin, thereby inhibiting iron absorption, release and recycling. In ESRD, plasma hepcidin levels are elevated, which contributes to iron deficiency in patients. Matriptase-2, a liver transmembrane serine protease, has been found to have a major role in controlling hepcidin gene expression. In mice, defects in the Tmprss6 gene encoding matriptase-2 result in high hepcidin expression and cause severe microcytic anemia. Similarly, mutations in the human TMPRSS6 gene have been identified in patients with IRIDA. Thus, matriptase-2 is critical for iron homeostasis and may play a role in renal disease.
PMCID: PMC2869468  PMID: 19776721
matriptase-2; TMPRSS6; hepcidin; end-stage renal disease; EPO resistance
25.  Coinfection with HIV-1 Alleviates Iron Accumulation in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98039.
Most chronically-infected hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients have increased levels of iron in the liver. Iron overload reduces sustained responses to antiviral therapy, leading to more rapid progression to liver cirrhosis and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. However, it is still unclear how HIV-1 infection affects iron status in patients chronically infected with HCV. The present study recruited 227 patients from a village in central China. These patients were either monoinfected with HCV (n = 129) or coinfected with HCV/HIV-1 (n = 98). Healthy controls (n = 84) were also recruited from the same village. Indicators of iron status, such as serum levels of iron, ferritin, and transferrin, total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), transferrin saturation (Tfs), and hepcidin, were analyzed and compared across the three groups. The results showed that serum levels of iron (p = 0.001) and ferritin (p = 0.009) and the Tfs (p = 0.002) were significantly higher in HCV-monoinfected patients than in the healthy controls; however, there were no differences in iron levels and Tfs between HCV/HIV-1 coinfected patients and healthy controls. Additionally, although serum hepcidin levels in HCV-monoinfected and HCV/HIV-1-coinfected patients were lower (p<0.001) than those in health controls, the levels in coinfected patients were higher (p = 0.025) than those in HCV-monoinfected patients. Serum iron and ferritin levels in HCV-monoinfected patients were positively correlated with serum ALT/AST. Serum transferrin levels were negatively correlated with ALT/AST levels. The levels of iron in the serum of coinfected patients with a CD4+T-cell count <500/µl were lower than those in patients with a CD4+T-cell count ≥500/µl, whereas serum hepcidin levels showed the opposite trend. Taken together, these results suggest that coinfection with HIV-1 alleviates iron accumulation caused by chronic HCV infection. Our study indicated that determining the status of serum iron and other iron-associated parameters will be helpful to understand the complexity of alternations in iron distribution in HCV/HIV-1-coinfected patients.
PMCID: PMC4057081  PMID: 24927015

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