Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 39-42

What regulates hepcidin in poly-transfused β-Thalassemia Major: Erythroid drive or store drive?

1 Department of Pathology, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Kalawati Saran Children's Hospital,New Delhi, India
2 Department of Pediatrics, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Kalawati Saran Children's Hospital,New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Richa Chauhan
A-1, Parivahan Apts, Vasundhara Sector 5, Ghaziabad - 201 012, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0377-4929.130891

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Background: Hepcidin, a key regulator of iron homeostasis, is increased by iron overload and inflammation while suppressed by hypoxia. In spite of iron overload in β-Thalassemia Major (β-TM), a paradoxical decrease in hepcidin is observed. Aim: To assess the opposing effects of enhanced erythropoiesis due to anemia and iron overloading on hepcidin in β-TM patients. Setting and Design: This prospective observational study was done at our tertiary care hospital. Materials and Methods: Eighty-three pediatric polytransfused (> 20 transfusions) patients of β-TM were compared with 70 children who served as controls. Serum assays for ferritin, transferrin receptors (sTfR) and hepcidin were performed. Statistical analysis: Independent Student t test was used to compare variables between both the groups. A Pearson correlation coefficient was used to find any correlation between ferritin, sTfR and hepcidin. Results: The mean value of hepcidin in β-TM children was 13.88±10.68 ng/ml (range, 0.9-60 ng/ml) and showed significant negative correlation with sTfR (r = -0.296, P < 0.0066). However, there was no correlation of hepcidin with ferritin. Ferritin and sTfR were significantly elevated in β-TM children compared to controls (P < 0.001). The mean serum hepcidin/ferritin index in the study group (0.00552) was significantly lower (P value < 0.001) than the controls (0.378) thus indicating inappropriate levels of hepcidin to iron overload. Conclusion: In polytransfused β-TM children increased iron demand dominates over iron overload in regulating hepcidin. In spite of excessive iron load, the inappropriate hepcidin levels may further contribute to iron overload enhancing iron toxicity.

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