Studying anemia of chronic disease and iron deficiency in patients with rheumatoid arthritis by iron status and circulating hepcidin

Hematol Rep. 2019 Mar 12;11(1):7708. doi: 10.4081/hr.2019.7708. eCollection 2019 Feb 19.


Anemia of chronic disease (ACD) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) are the two most important types of anemia in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Functional iron deficiency in ACD can be attributed to overexpression of the main iron regulatory hormone hepcidin leading to diversion of iron from the circulation into storage sites resulting in iron-restricted erythropoiesis. The aim is to investigate the role of circulating hepcidin and to uncover the frequency of IDA in RA. The study included 51 patients with RA. Complete blood counts, serum iron, total iron binding capacity, ferritin, and hepcidin-25 were assessed. ACD was found in 37.3% of patients, IDA in 11.8%, and combined (ACD/IDA) in 17.6%. Serum hepcidin was higher in ACD than in control and the other groups (P≤0.001). It was strongly and positively correlated with ferritin (P<0.001), while hemoglobin, serum iron, and total iron binding capacity were negatively correlated with hepcidin (P=0.016, 0.022 and <0.001, respectively). High serum hepcidin was significantly associated with ACD in RA. IDA alone or combined with ACD was encountered in about a third of patients.

Keywords: Anemia; Ferritin; Hepcidin; Rheumatoid arthritis.

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Funding: none.