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1.  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
2.  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
3.  Hepcidin-25, Mean Corpuscular Volume, and Ferritin as Predictors of Response to Oral Iron Supplementation in Hemodialysis Patients 
Nutrients  2014;7(1):103-118.
The benefit of oral iron therapy (OIT) and factors predictive of OIT response are not established in hemodialysis (HD) patients with iron deficiency anemia (IDA). We examined the values of hepcidin-25, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), and ferritin as predictors of OIT response. Oral ferrous fumarate (50 mg/day, 8 weeks) was given to 51 HD patients with IDA (hemoglobin (Hb) < 12 g/dL, ferritin < 100 ng/mL) treated with an erythropoietin activator. Sixteen patients were responders (improvement of Hb (ΔHb) ≥ 2 g/dL) and 35 were non-responders (ΔHb < 2g/dL). Baseline Hb, MCV, serum hepcidin-25, ferritin, iron parameters, and C-reactive protein (CRP) before and ΔHb after OIT were compared between groups. Hepcidin-25, MCV, ferritin, and transferrin saturation were lower in the responders than in the non-responders. Hepcidin-25 positively correlated with ferritin. Hepcidin-25, MCV, and ferritin positively correlated with baseline Hb and negatively correlated with ΔHb. Despite normal CRP levels in all patients, CRP correlated positively with hepcidin-25 and ferritin. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis and receiver operating characteristics curve analysis revealed that hepcidin-25, MCV, and ferritin could predict OIT response. We conclude that hepcidin-25, MCV, and ferritin could be useful markers of iron storage status and may help predict OIT response in HD patients.
PMCID: PMC4303829  PMID: 25551249
anemia; ferritin; hemodialysis; hepcidin; iron; mean corpuscular volume
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.  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
6.  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
7.  Hepcidin levels in diabetes mellitus and polycystic ovary syndrome 
Diabetic Medicine  2013;30(12):1495-1499.
Increased body iron is associated with insulin resistance. Hepcidin is the key hormone that negatively regulates iron homeostasis. We hypothesized that individuals with insulin resistance have inadequate hepcidin levels for their iron load.
Serum concentrations of the active form of hepcidin (hepcidin-25) and hepcidin:ferritin ratio were evaluated in participants with Type 2 diabetes (n = 33, control subjects matched for age, gender and BMI,n = 33) and participants with polycystic ovary syndrome (n = 27, control subjects matched for age and BMI,n = 16). To investigate whether any changes observed were associated with insulin resistance rather than insulin deficiency or hyperglycaemia per se, the same measurements were made in participants with Type 1 diabetes (n = 28, control subjects matched for age, gender and BMI,n = 30). Finally, the relationship between homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance and serum hepcidin:ferritin ratio was explored in overweight or obese participants without diabetes (n = 16).
Participants with Type 2 diabetes had significantly lower hepcidin and hepcidin:ferritin ratio than control subjects (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively). Participants with polycystic ovary syndrome had a significantly lower hepcidin:ferritin ratio than control subjects (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in hepcidin or hepcidin:ferritin ratio between participants with Type 1 diabetes and control subjects (P = 0.88 and P = 0.94). Serum hepcidin:ferritin ratio inversely correlated with homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (r = –0.59, P < 0.05).
Insulin resistance, but not insulin deficiency or hyperglycaemia per se, is associated with inadequate hepcidin levels. Reduced hepcidin concentrations may cause increased body iron stores in insulin-resistant states.
PMCID: PMC4232927  PMID: 23796160
8.  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
9.  Prevalence of hematinics deficiency amongst female students and its correction 
Nutritional anemia (NA) is common in India. While iron deficiency (ID) is a well recognized cause of NA, prevalence of deficiencies of other hematinics is not systematically investigated.
Seventy students of a junior class of a polytechnic and 202 inmates of girl students home were taken up for study.
Students were given a questionnaire to elicit anemia related symptoms. Blood was collected for complete blood count (CBC), serum ferritin, folic acid and vitamin B12. Students of polytechnic received hematinic at bed time during their menstrual periods whereas inmates of students home received hematinic at bed time, 3 days in a week. After 6 months blood tests were repeated in those who completed the treatment. CBC was done on Coulter counter and ferritin, folic acid and vitamin B12 were assayed by chemiluminescence. Students were divided into three groups-(1) Control group with Hb 12.0 g/dl or more and ferritin 15.0 ng/ml or more; (2) ID Group with Hb 12.0 g/dl or more and ferritin less than 15.0 ng/ml; and (3) Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) group with Hb less tha 12.0 g/dl and ferritin less than 15.0 ng/ml.
Basal parameters of three groups were compared using students t test. Change in parameters with treatment was compared using paired students t test.
Median age-16 years (range 10–25). Anemia ( Hb < 12.0 g/dl)-94 (34.6%); MCV < 80 fl-153 (56.3%); MCH < 27 pg-167 (61.4%); Ferritin < 15.0 ng/ml-161 (59.2%); Folic acid < 3.5 ng/ml-34 (12.5%); Vitamin B12 < 258 pg/ml-133 (48.9%) Pre-therapy: (1) Hb, MCV, MCH and ferritin significantly lower in ID and IDA Groups compared to control group. (2) Hb, MCV, MCH and Ferritin significantly lower in IDA Group as compared to ID Group.
(1) IDA group showed significant increase in Hb, MCV, MCH, ferritin, folic acid and vitamin B12. (2) final Hb (11.26+1.07) and ferritin (7.46+4.81) in IDA Group were subnormal. (3) MCV, MCH, ferritin, folic acid and vitamin B12 increased significantly in ID Group and control group.
(1) Nutritional anemia is common amongst asymptomatic young female students. (2) Deficiencies of iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 are common and coexist. (3) 105 mg elemental iron for 3 days in a week for 6 months is not adequate to correct IDA. (4) 105 mg iron for 3 days in a week is enough to correct ID. (5) Non-anemic individuals with ID have iron deficient erythropoiesis. (6) Non-anemic individuals without ID, in this cohort, also had iron deficient eryhtropoiesis.
PMCID: PMC3453115  PMID: 23100922
Nutritional anemia; Iron deficiency; Iron deficiency anemia; B12 deficiency; Folic acid deficiency; Iron deficient erythropoiesis; Dose of elemental iron
10.  Iron, Hepcidin and Inflammatory Status of Young Healthy Overweight and Obese Women in Australia 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68675.
Background and Aims
Evidence suggests obesity-related inflammation alters iron metabolism potentially increasing the risk of iron deficiency. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate iron, hepcidin and inflammatory status in young, healthy overweight and obese women.
114 young (18–25 years), healthy comorbidity-free women with a body mass index (BMI) ≥27.5 kg/m2 were recruited. Biochemical data were analysed using mean ± standard deviation or median (interquartile range) and multivariate modelling. Biochemical markers were also stratified according to varying degrees of overweight and obesity.
Anaemia (haemoglobin <120 g/l) and iron deficiency (serum ferritin <15.0 µg/l) were prevalent in 10% and 17% of participants respectively. Mean/median soluble transferrin receptor was 1.61±0.44 mg/l; hepcidin 6.40 (7.85) ng/ml and C-reactive protein (CRP) 3.58 (5.81) mg/l. Multivariate modelling showed that BMI was a significant predictor of serum iron (coefficient = -0.379; standard error = 0.139; p = 0.008), transferrin saturation (coefficient = -0.588; standard error = 0.222; p = 0.009) and CRP (coefficient = 0.127; standard error = 0.024; p<0.001). Stratification of participants according to BMI showed those with ≥35.0 kg/m2 had significantly higher CRP (p<0.001) than those in lower BMI categories.
Increasing obesity was associated with minor disturbances in iron metabolism. However, overall outcomes indicated simple iron deficiency (hypoferritinaemia) was the primary iron-related abnormality with no apparent contribution of inflammation or hepcidin, even in those with BMI >35.0 kg/m2. This indicates that obesity alone may not be sufficient to induce clinically significant disturbances to iron metabolism as previously described. This may be attributed to the lack of comorbidity in this cohort.
PMCID: PMC3701675  PMID: 23861932
11.  Effects of Vitamin A Supplementation on Iron Status Indices and Iron Deficiency Anaemia: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
Nutrients  2013;6(1):190-206.
Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world including developed and developing countries. Despite intensive efforts to improve the quality of life of rural and aboriginal communities in Malaysia, anaemia and IDA are still major public health problems in these communities particularly among children. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted on 250 Orang Asli (aboriginal) schoolchildren in Malaysia to investigate the effects of a single high-dose of vitamin A supplementation (200,000 IU) on iron status indices, anaemia and IDA status. The effect of the supplement was assessed after 3 months of receiving the supplements; after a complete 3-day deworming course of 400 mg/day of albendazole tablets. The prevalence of anaemia was found to be high: 48.5% (95% CI = 42.3, 54.8). Moreover, 34% (95% CI = 28.3, 40.2) of the children had IDA, which accounted for 70.1% of the anaemic cases. The findings showed that the reduction in serum ferritin level and the increments in haemoglobin, serum iron and transferrin saturation were found to be significant among children allocated to the vitamin A group compared to those allocated to the placebo group (p < 0.01). Moreover, a significant reduction in the prevalence of IDA by almost 22% than prevalence at baseline was reported among children in the vitamin A group compared with only 2.3% reduction among children in the placebo group. In conclusion, vitamin A supplementation showed a significant impact on iron status indices and IDA among Orang Asli children. Hence, providing vitamin A supplementation and imparting the knowledge related to nutritious food should be considered in the efforts to improve the nutritional and health status of these children as a part of efforts to improve the quality of life in rural and aboriginal communities.
PMCID: PMC3916855  PMID: 24384995
clinical trial; vitamin A supplementation; iron deficiency anaemia; children; Malaysia
12.  Effect of Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy in iron deficiency anaemia of pregnancy – A pilot study 
Background & objectives:
Despite routine iron supplementation and promotion of diet modification, iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) remains widely prevalent in our antenatal population. Recent studies in pediatric population have highlighted the role of Helicobacter pylori infection in IDA. This study was undertaken to study the effect of eradication therapy in H. pylori infected pregnant women with IDA.
Randomized placebo-controlled double blind clinical trial was done on 40 antenatal women between 14-30 wk gestation, with mild to moderate IDA and having H. pylori infection, as detected by stool antigen test. These women were randomly divided into group I (n=20): H. pylori treatment group (amoxicillin, clarithromycin, omeprazole for 2 wk) and group II (n=20): placebo group. Both groups received therapeutic doses of iron and folic acid. Outcome measures were improvement in haematological parameters and serum iron profile after 6 wk of oral iron therapy.
The prevalence of iron deficiency in pregnant women with mild to moderate anaemia was 39.8 per cent (95% CI 35.7, 44.3); and 62.5 per cent (95% CI 52, 73) of these pregnant women with IDA were infected with H. pylori. After 6 wk of therapeutic oral iron and folic acid supplementation, the rise in haemoglobin, packed cell volume, serum iron and percentage transferrin saturation was significantly (P<0.05) higher in the group given H. pylori eradication therapy as compared to the placebo group.
Interpretation & conclusions:
Our results showed a high occurrence of H. pylori infection in pregnant women with IDA. Eradication therapy resulted in significantly better response to oral iron supplementation among H. pylori infected pregnant women with IDA.
PMCID: PMC3181024  PMID: 21911976
Eradication therapy; Helicobacter pylori; iron deficiency anaemia; pregnancy
13.  The Relation of Hepcidin to Iron Disorders, Inflammation and Hemoglobin in Chronic Kidney Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99781.
The metabolism of hepcidin is profoundly modified in chronic kidney disease (CKD). We investigated its relation to iron disorders, inflammation and hemoglobin (Hb) level in 199 non-dialyzed, non-transplanted patients with CKD stages 1–5. All had their glomerular filtration rate measured by 51Cr-EDTA renal clearance (mGFR), as well as measurements of iron markers including hepcidin and of erythropoietin (EPO). Hepcidin varied from 0.2 to 193 ng/mL. The median increased from 23.3 ng/mL [8.8–28.7] to 36.1 ng/mL [14.1–92.3] when mGFR decreased from ≥60 to <15 mL/min/1.73 m2 (p = 0.02). Patients with absolute iron deficiency (transferrin saturation (TSAT) <20% and ferritin <40 ng/mL) had the lowest hepcidin levels (5.0 ng/mL [0.7–11.7]), and those with a normal iron profile (TSAT ≥20% and ferritin ≥40), the highest (34.5 ng/mL [23.7–51.6]). In multivariate analysis, absolute iron deficiency was associated with lower hepcidin values, and inflammation combined with a normal or functional iron profile with higher values, independent of other determinants of hepcidin concentration, including EPO, mGFR, and albuminemia. The hepcidin level, although it rose overall when mGFR declined, collapsed in patients with absolute iron deficiency. There was a significant interaction with iron status in the association between Hb and hepcidin. Except in absolute iron deficiency, hepcidin’s negative association with Hb level indicates that it is not down-regulated in CKD anemia.
PMCID: PMC4076189  PMID: 24978810
14.  Environmental risk factors for iron deficiency anemia in children 12–24 months old in the area of Thessalia in Greece  
Hippokratia  2008;12(4):240-250.
Background and aim: Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is a common problem all over the world, which attacks mainly pregnant women, infants and children. The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence of IDA in children 12–24 months old in a specific area of Thessalia, located in the central part of Greece, and to identify the environmental risk factors associated with it.
Patients and Methods: In the first part of this cross–sectional and case–control study, the hemoglobin (Hb) levels of 938 children were estimated by a mobile photometer analyzer. In the second part of the study, children with Hb < 11 gr/dl were compared with matched random selected controls in hematological, anthropometric and environmental parameters. The estimated laboratory values were Hb, hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, zinc protoporphyrin, serum iron, serum ferritin, transferring saturation, total iron binding capacity and Hb electrophoresis. Finally 75 children (34 boys, 41 girls, mean age 17.51±3.5 months), who were found with IDA, constituted the case group while 75 healthy children constituted the control group.
Results: The prevalence of IDA in the region was 7.99%. At the same time, a number of children with stigma of bthalassaemia (2.13%) was discovered, something that had escaped identification. There were no differences due to the method of determination (mobile or laboratory) in the values of Hb between the two groups. Significant differences were recorded (p<0.001) in all hematological and anthropometric parameters except for head circumference. Regarding environmental factors, significant differences were found in the following parameters: ratio rooms/number of family members (p=0.01), number of family members (p=0.01), number of children in the family (p<0.001), birth rate (p<0.001), education and profession of the parents (p<0.001), source of drinking water and sewage system (p<0.001), duration of breast feeding (p<0.001), milk consumption by the child during the period of the reported research (p<0.001), child's health status according to the mother (p<0.001), and frequency of seeking pediatric care (p=0.02).
Conclusions: Although the prevalence of IDA in this area of Greece is similar to the one observed in the rest of the developed world, it still consists a public health problem. The mobile method for Hb estimation should be introduced in Greece since its reliability to detect IDA has been, once more, confirmed. The application of simple questionnaires for the detection of the environmental IDA risk factors could help in the prognosis and prevention of anemia. Further improvement of the IDA status in Greece could be achieved through the dissemination of information about iron rich foods, the amelioration of environmental conditions and the application of reliable, easy to use and cheap methods for Hb estimation.
PMCID: PMC2580047  PMID: 19158969
children; iron deficiency anemia; environment; questionnaire; Greece
15.  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
16.  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
17.  Iron status in patients with chronic heart failure 
European Heart Journal  2012;34(11):827-834.
The changes in iron status occurring during the course of heart failure (HF) and the underlying pathomechanisms are largely unknown. Hepcidin, the major regulatory protein for iron metabolism, may play a causative role. We investigated iron status in a broad spectrum of patients with systolic HF in order to determine the changes in iron status in parallel with disease progression, and to associate iron status with long-term prognosis.
Methods and results
Serum concentrations of ferritin, transferrin saturation (Tsat), soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), and hepcidin were assessed as the biomarkers of iron status in 321 patients with chronic systolic HF [age: 61 ± 11 years, men: 84%, left ventricular ejection fraction: 31 ± 9%, New York Heart Association (NYHA) class: 72/144/87/18] at a tertiary cardiology centre and 66 age- and gender-matched healthy subjects. Compared with healthy subjects, asymptomatic HF patients had similar haematological status, but increased iron stores (evidenced by higher serum ferritin without distinct inflammation, P < 0.01) with markedly elevated serum hepcidin (P < 0.001). With increasing HF severity, patients in advanced NYHA classes had iron deficiency (ID) (reduced serum ferritin, low Tsat, high sTfR), iron-restricted erythropoiesis (reduced haemoglobin, high red cell distribution width), and inflammation (high serum high-sensitivity-C-reactive protein and interleukin 6), which was accompanied by decreased circulating hepcidin (all P < 0.001). In multivariable Cox models, low hepcidin was independently associated with increased 3-year mortality among HF patients (P < 0.001).
Increased level of circulating hepcidin characterizes an early stage of HF, and is not accompanied by either anaemia or inflammation. The progression of HF is associated with the decline in circulating hepcidin and the development of ID. Low hepcidin independently relates to unfavourable outcome.
PMCID: PMC3697803  PMID: 23178646
Heart failure; Iron deficiency; Ferritin; Hepcidin; Prognosis
18.  Benefits of Iron supplementation for low birth weight infants: A systematic review 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:99.
A number of studies have reported on the effects of iron supplementation in low birth weight infants; however, no systematic review of the available evidence has been conducted to date. Hence, we performed a systematic review of the literature to examine the effects of iron supplementation on hematologic iron status, growth, neurodevelopment, and adverse effects in low birth weight/premature infants.
We searched the Cochrane Library, Medline, and PubMed for articles reporting on the effects of iron supplementation in low weight infants. The following search terms were used: “preterm born infant(s)/children”; “preterm infants”; “prematurely born children” “weight less than 1500 g at birth”; “born prematurely”; “low birth weight infant(s)”; “infants born preterm”; “prematurity”; “small-for-gestational age”; “very small gestational age infants”; “iron supplementation”; “iron intake”; “iron supplements”; “ferric and/or ferrous compounds”; and “ferrous sulphate/fumarate/sulfate”.
A total of 15 studies were identified and included in the systematic review. Supplemental iron was given orally or as an iron-fortified formula in 14/15 studies. The duration of treatment ranged from 1 week to 18 months. Iron supplementation significantly increased hematologic measures of iron status (including hemoglobin, hematocrit, serum ferritin) relative to placebo or over time in most studies. All controlled studies that examined iron-deficiency anemia (IDA)/ID reported a decreased prevalence of IDA/ID with iron supplementation. Dose dependent decreases in the prevalence of IDA/ID were reported in several studies. Of the 5 studies reporting on growth, none found any significant effect on growth-related parameters (length, height, weight, and head circumference). Only 2 studies reported on neurodevelopment; no marked effects were reported. There were no consistently reported adverse effects, including oxidative stress, inhibited nutrient absorption, morbidity, or the requirement for blood transfusion.
The available data suggest that iron supplementation increases the levels of hematologic indicators of iron status and reduces the prevalence of IDA/ID in low birth weight/premature infants. There is insufficient evidence to make a definitive statement regarding the effects of iron supplementation on growth, neurodevelopment, or the occurrence of adverse effects in low birth weight/premature infants.
PMCID: PMC3444344  PMID: 22794149
Anemia; Infant; Iron deficiency; Iron supplementation; Low birth weight
19.  Iron Deficiency Anemia and Cognitive Function in Infancy 
Pediatrics  2010;126(2):e427-e434.
This study examined effects of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) on specific domains of infant cognitive function and the role of IDA-related socioemotional deficits in mediating and/or moderating these effects.
Infants were recruited during routine 9-month visits to an inner-city clinic. IDA was defined as hemoglobin level <110 g/L with ≥2 abnormal iron deficiency indicators (mean corpuscular volume, red cell distribution width, zinc protoporphyrin, transferrin saturation, and ferritin). At 9 and 12 months, the Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence (FTII); A-not-B task; Emotionality, Activity, and Sociability Temperament Survey; and Behavior Rating Scale were administered. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounders, including age and sociodemographic variables.
Twenty-eight infants met criteria for IDA, 28 had nonanemic iron deficiency (NA ID) and 21 had iron sufficiency (IS). There was a linear effect for object permanence at 9 months: infants with IDA were least likely to exhibit object permanence, IS most likely, and NA ID intermediate. Infants with IDA and those with hemoglobin level ≤105 g/L showed poorer recognition memory on the FTII than infants without IDA. The Behavior Rating Scale orientation/engagement measure partially mediated these effects. Stronger effects of IDA on these outcomes were seen in infants who scored more poorly on the socioemotional measures.
These data indicate poorer object permanence and short-term memory encoding and/or retrieval in infants with IDA at 9 months. These cognitive effects were attributable, in part, to IDA-related deficits in socioemotional function. Children with poor socioemotional performance seem to be more vulnerable to the effects of IDA on cognitive function.
PMCID: PMC3235644  PMID: 20660551
iron deficiency anemia; infancy; recognition memory; object permanence; socioemotion; infant cognition
20.  Hepcidin-25 in Chronic Hemodialysis Patients Is Related to Residual Kidney Function and Not to Treatment with Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e39783.
Hepcidin-25, the bioactive form of hepcidin, is a key regulator of iron homeostasis as it induces internalization and degradation of ferroportin, a cellular iron exporter on enterocytes, macrophages and hepatocytes. Hepcidin levels are increased in chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients, but as of yet, limited information on factors associated with hepcidin-25 in these patients is available. In the current cross-sectional study, potential patient-, laboratory- and treatment-related determinants of serum hepcidin-20 and -25, were assessed in a large cohort of stable, prevalent HD patients. Baseline data from 405 patients (62% male; age 63.7±13.9 [mean SD]) enrolled in the CONvective TRAnsport STudy (CONTRAST; NCT00205556) were studied. Predialysis hepcidin concentrations were measured centrally with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Patient-, laboratory- and treatment related characteristics were entered in a backward multivariable linear regression model. Hepcidin-25 levels were independently and positively associated with ferritin (p<0.001), hsCRP (p<0.001) and the presence of diabetes (p = 0.02) and inversely with the estimated glomerular filtration rate (p = 0.01), absolute reticulocyte count (p = 0.02) and soluble transferrin receptor (p<0.001). Men had lower hepcidin-25 levels as compared to women (p = 0.03). Hepcidin-25 was not associated with the maintenance dose of erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESA) or iron therapy. In conclusion, in the currently studied cohort of chronic HD patients, hepcidin-25 was a marker for iron stores and erythropoiesis and was associated with inflammation. Furthermore, hepcidin-25 levels were influenced by residual kidney function. Hepcidin-25 did not reflect ESA or iron dose in chronic stable HD patients on maintenance therapy. These results suggest that hepcidin is involved in the pathophysiological pathway of renal anemia and iron availability in these patients, but challenges its function as a clinical parameter for ESA resistance.
PMCID: PMC3396629  PMID: 22808058
21.  Minihepcidins are rationally designed small peptides that mimic hepcidin activity in mice and may be useful for the treatment of iron overload 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(12):4880-4888.
Iron overload is the hallmark of hereditary hemochromatosis and a complication of iron-loading anemias such as β-thalassemia. Treatment can be burdensome and have significant side effects, and new therapeutic options are needed. Iron overload in hereditary hemochromatosis and β-thalassemia intermedia is caused by hepcidin deficiency. Although transgenic hepcidin replacement in mouse models of these diseases prevents iron overload or decreases its potential toxicity, natural hepcidin is prohibitively expensive for human application and has unfavorable pharmacologic properties. Here, we report the rational design of hepcidin agonists based on the mutagenesis of hepcidin and the hepcidin-binding region of ferroportin and computer modeling of their docking. We identified specific hydrophobic/aromatic residues required for hepcidin-ferroportin binding and obtained evidence in vitro that a thiol-disulfide interaction between ferroportin C326 and the hepcidin disulfide cage may stabilize binding. Guided by this model, we showed that 7–9 N-terminal amino acids of hepcidin, including a single thiol cysteine, comprised the minimal structure that retained hepcidin activity, as shown by the induction of ferroportin degradation in reporter cells. Further modifications to increase resistance to proteolysis and oral bioavailability yielded minihepcidins that, after parenteral or oral administration to mice, lowered serum iron levels comparably to those after parenteral native hepcidin. Moreover, liver iron concentrations were lower in mice chronically treated with minihepcidins than those in mice treated with solvent alone. Minihepcidins may be useful for the treatment of iron overload disorders.
PMCID: PMC3225996  PMID: 22045566
22.  Effectiveness of communication campaign on iron deficiency anemia in Kyzyl-Orda region, Kazakhstan: a pilot study 
BMC Blood Disorders  2010;10:2.
In 2004, wheat flour fortification (WFF) with iron was implemented in Kazakhstan as a public health strategy to increase the iron intake of all women of childbearing age and of children. In 2003, before starting the flour fortification program, a communication campaign on health education took place in a region with a high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia (IDA). The present study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of anemia, iron deficiency and IDA before and after the campaign. In addition, knowledge about IDA and its prevention, as well as awareness about fortified wheat flour, was assessed.
The subjects of the study were women aged 15-49 years and children aged 2-14 years. The study was carried out in urban and rural areas of Kyzyl-Orda region in 2003 before (March) and after (December) the campaign. Blood samples were collected in order to measure hemoglobin and serum ferritin. In March 80 women and 57 children in the urban area, and 41 women and 41 children in the rural area, participated in the IDA testing. The corresponding participants in December numbered 62, 52, 52, and 57, respectively. The impacts of the communications and information received by participants during the campaign was surveyed with a questionnaire for 195 women in March and 198 women in December including some who participated in the IDA testing.
In March, the prevalence of anemia was 52.0% among 121 women and 58.1% among 98 children, and those with low iron reserve were 63.6%, 49.1% and IDA 40.5%, 11.0%, respectively. In December, the prevalence of anemia had significantly decreased among rural women (from 65.9% to 48.0%, p < 0.05) and among urban children (from 63.1% to 11.5%, p < 0.001). The prevalence of iron deficiency was significantly reduced among the children (from 51.1% to 24.8%, p < 0.001). IDA prevalence was meaningfully decreased among women in urban and combined areas (from 37.5% to 15.0% and 40.5 to 14.8%, respectively, p < 0.001) and among urban children (from 7.1% to 2.1%, p < 0.05). The surveys found that most women knew about IDA and its prevention and that the numbers were similar both in March and in December. The knowledge of the anti-anemic effect of wheat fortified flour improved significantly over the period of the campaign among women both in urban (from 48.5% to 80.9%, p < 0.001) and rural (from 69.8% to 88.6%, p < 0.001) areas.
The study demonstrated that the communication campaign before implementation of WFF program was effectively carried out, giving a biological impact on hematological indices.
PMCID: PMC2853424  PMID: 20236546
23.  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
24.  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
25.  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

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