Background Hepcidin, first described about 10 years ago, is a key iron - regulatory hormone. However, hepcidin measurement in a variety of human disease states are still lacking.
Aim To study serum level of hepcidin hormone in children with beta-thalassemia major (TM) and intermedia (TI).
Subjects and Methods The work was conducted on 50 children divided into 3 groups: 15 children with beta-thalassemia major, 10 children with beta-thalassemia intermedia, and 25 healthy children as a control group.
Thalassemic children included in the study were subjected to: Detailed history taking, clinical examination and measurement of serum hepcidin hormone level by (ELISA).
Results The mean serum hepcidin level was significantly higher in children with TM than in patients with TI and the controls. The ratio of serum hepcidin to serum ferritin in TI was significantly lower than those with TM. In addition, there was a significant positive relation between serum hepcidin and serum ferritin and also with serum iron.
Conclusions Hepcidin measurement may be useful as part of the diagnostic and prognostic evaluation of thalassemia as it may allow a more accurate assessment of the degree of iron overload and the maldistribution of iron.
In the future, it may be possible to use exogenous hepcidin to restore normal iron homeostasis in patients with thalassemia especially thalassemia intermedia.