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The relationship among iron status, hepcidin and inflammation in paediatric obesity

M Seif, AA Alshamrani, AM Almulhim
Published in : HAMDAN MEDICAL JOURNAL ; Vol 8, No 4 (2015): Supplement Issue
DOI : 10.7707/hmj.498


Introduction: The prevalence of obesity has been increasing at an alarming rate among Saudi children. Adipose tissue produces hepcidin and many proinflammatory cytokines. Obesity is associated with hypoferraemia. Poor iron status during childhood has detrimental health effects. The data on the relationship among iron status, hepcidin and inflammation in obese children are scanty.

Objectives: To examine the relationship among weight status, iron status, hepcidin and inflammation in children.

Materials and methods: Serum iron, haemoglobin, transferrin, ferritin, hepcidin, C-reactive protein (CRP), tumour necrosis factor-α  (TNF-α ) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) were studied in 60 obese Saudi children and in 60 controls of matched age and sex.

Results: Serum iron (73.2±12.5 vs. 85.5±16.4μg/dl, P <0.001), haemoglobin (13.1±1.4 vs. 14.3±2.1 g/dl, P <0.001), and transferrin saturation (18.4±5.9 vs. 27.1±8.4%, P <0.001) were lower in obese children than in non-obese children, whereas serum ferritin (102.1±23.5 vs. 86.3±15.7ng/ml, P <0.001), hepcidin (3.4±1.2 vs. 1.4±0.9nmol/l, P <0.001), CRP (3.5±2.9 vs. 1.4±0.7mg/dl, P <0.001), IL-6 (3.6±1.7 vs. 1.3±0.8pg/ml, P <0.001) and TNF-α  (6.8±2.8 vs. 4.5±1.7pg/ml, P <0.001) were higher in the obese than in the non-obese children.

Conclusions: These data indicate a positive correlation among adipocyte hepcidin expression, body mass index and inflammatory markers. This correlation may explain the association of poor iron status with obesity. Screening for iron status among obese children is recommended. Interactions of inflammatory factors with the feeding and satiety centres of the hypothalamus require more investigation in the future.


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