Iron-deficiency anaemia (IDA) is a major worldwide public health problem. Children and women of reproductive age are especially vulnerable to IDA, and it has been reported that these patients are more prone to infection. This study was done to evaluate alteration of lymphocyte subgroups in IDA.
In this prospective study, we investigated lymphocyte subsets in pre-menopausal women with iron-deficiency anaemia; 50 normal subjects and 50 IDA (hypochromic microcytic) cases were enrolled. Experimental and control anticoagulated blood samples were evaluated using flow cytometry to determine the absolute and relative numbers of various lymphocyte subgroups. Finally, the results of the patient and control groups were compared.
Mean (SD) absolute counts of lymphocytes, CD3+ cells, CD3+/CD4+ subsets (T helper) and CD3+/CD8+ subsets (T cytotoxic) in the patient group were 2.08 (0.65) x 109/L, 1.53 (0.53) x 109/L, 0.87 (0.28) x 109/L, and 0.51 (0.24) x 109/L, respectively. The results showed significant differences between case and control groups in mean absolute counts of lymphocytes (P = 0.014), T lymphocytes (P = 0.009), helper T cells (P = 0.004), and cytotoxic T cells (P = 0.043).
This study showed that absolute counts of peripheral blood T lymphocytes as a marker of cell-mediated immunity may be decreased in pre-menopausal women with iron-deficiency anaemia, and that these patients may be more prone to infection.