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Keywords:

  • anaemia;
  • anaemia of chronic disease;
  • hepcidin;
  • iron absorption;
  • iron deficiency

Summary. The hepatic antimicrobial protein, hepcidin, is implicated in duodenal iron absorption and mobilization. Overexpression of the hepcidin gene is associated with a hypoferraemic, microcytic, iron-refractory anaemia. On the basis of these observations, it has been proposed that hepcidin is a mediator of the common clinical syndrome, anaemia of chronic disease (ACD), and recent findings evaluating urinary hepcidin production in patients support this hypothesis. In the present report, serum hepcidin concentrations were measured in 55 specimens submitted for ferritin determination, and in 37 specimens collected from anaemic patients undergoing diagnostic bone marrow examination. The serum hepcidin concentration exhibited a statistically significant correlation with serum ferritin concentrations in both patient subsets. No statistically significant correlations were observed between serum hepcidin and other laboratory markers of iron status or anaemia diagnosis. Serum hepcidin does not appear to correlate as well with clinical diagnosis as urinary hepcidin, suggesting that a better understanding of the clearance and metabolism of this protein is required to understand fully its potential contribution to the pathogenesis of ACD.