Intra-individual variability in serum hepcidin precludes its use as a marker of iron status in hemodialysis patients

Kidney Int. 2010 Oct;78(8):769-73. doi: 10.1038/ki.2010.254. Epub 2010 Jul 28.


An accurate assessment of iron status in dialysis patients is important because both anemia and overtreatment with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents are associated with poor clinical outcomes. We have previously shown that both analytical and intra-individual (biological) variability in serum ferritin limits its utility as a proxy for iron stores in patients in this setting. As hepcidin is a direct regulator of iron status, its measurement might be useful for monitoring patients with iron dysregulation. We assessed short-term intra-individual variation of serum hepcidin in 28 patients with stable chronic kidney disease on hemodialysis. The intra-individual variability for serum hepcidin ranged from 9-79% during an initial 2-week to 12-85% over a 6-week period. The concentration of serum hepcidin was significantly correlated with serum C-reactive protein levels over the 6-week study period. Hence, significant intra-individual variability of hepcidin is likely dependent on short-term fluctuations in the inflammatory state. Thus, our results suggest that short-term measurement of serum hepcidin should not be used to guide clinical decisions regarding management of iron status in chronic hemodialysis patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Hepcidins
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Iron / blood*
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / blood*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Biomarkers
  • HAMP protein, human
  • Hepcidins
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Ferritins
  • Iron