Serum hepcidin: reference ranges and biochemical correlates in the general population

Blood. 2011 Jun 23;117(25):e218-25. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-02-337907. Epub 2011 Apr 28.


To date, concentrations of the promising biomarker hepcidin have only been assessed in serum of relatively small series of healthy volunteers and patients. We assessed age- and sex-stratified reference ranges of serum hepcidin concentration in a selected reference set and performed regression analyses to study associations between hepcidin and (biochemical) variables in a large, well-phenotyped sample of the general population (n = 2998). All participants filled out a questionnaire on lifestyle, health status, and medical history. Serum measurements of iron parameters, liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase, creatinine and C-reactive protein were available. Serum hepcidin concentrations were lower for premenopausal than for postmenopausal women (median, 4.1 nM vs 8.5 nM, respectively). Hepcidin concentrations in men were constant over age (median, 7.8 nM). Serum hepcidin was strongly associated with serum ferritin in men and women: β-coefficient of log-transformed variables (95% confidence interval): 0.78 (0.74-0.82) and 0.83 (0.78-0.88), respectively. Additional significant, though less strong, associations were observed for C-reactive protein and total iron binding capacity in men and for total iron binding capacity, alanine aminotransferase, and glomerular filtration rate in women. Our study provides age- and sex-specific reference ranges of serum hepcidin concentration and indicates ferritin as the primary correlate of serum hepcidin concentration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / blood*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Hepcidins
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • HAMP protein, human
  • Hepcidins