Background: Genome-wide-association studies have identified the TMPRSS6 polymorphism rs855791 has the strongest association with red blood cell indices or iron parameters in general population. Whether this genetic variant influences the susceptibility of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in women with menstruation has not been well studied.
Methods: In this case-control study, we enrolled 67 women with IDA and 107 healthy volunteers, and analyzed their complete blood counts, rs855791 genotypes, and menstrual amounts. Menstrual blood loss was evaluated with a pictorial blood-loss assessment chart.
Results: There were significantly fewer rs855791 C homozygotes in the IDA group than in the healthy group (11.9% vs. 25.2%, p = 0.03). The odds ratio (OR) of C homozygotes having IDA versus non-CC subjects having IDA was 0.4 (95% CI, 0.17 - 0.95, p = 0.04). When the analysis was confined to study subjects with menorrhagia, this difference became more prominent (9.6% vs. 28.6%, p = 0.01; OR, 0.27, 95% CI, 0.09 - 0.77, p = 0.01). For women with non-CC genotypes, there was an inverse correlation between hemoglobin levels and menstrual loss (p < 0.001); however, this association was not found for those with genotypes CC (p = 0.15).
Conclusions: Our study suggests homozygosity for TMPRSS6 rs855791 C genotype has a protective role against IDA in women at reproductive age, especially in those with menorrhagia.