Immunoassay-Based Serum Hepcidin Reference Range Measurements in Healthy Children: Differences Among Age Groups

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Abstract

Background:

Hepcidin is a peptide hormone that plays a key role in regulating iron absorption from the small intestine and body iron distribution. Alterations in hepcidin concentrations have been associated with chronic inflammatory conditions or inherited diseases of iron metabolism. The aim of our study was to evaluate healthy children in order to define normal reference range of serum hepcidin concentrations. The universal use of a reliable commercial ELISA kit gives the ability to compare our results with those from previous studies.

Methods:

We evaluated 180 healthy children (88 boys, mean age: 67.55 ± 39.26 months, median: 60, range: 24–156 months) aged 2–12 years, using an immunoassay kit.

Results:

Hepcidin median values were 46.94 ng/ml for boys and 46.79 ng/ml for girls. No significant differences were observed between boys and girls. There seem to be significantly higher values of hepcidin in older children (10–12 years old). This trend was constant and statistically significant in boys after gender and age group stratification. Although this trend was more prominent in girls, it was not statistically significant.

Conclusions:

This study aims at setting up reference values for serum hepcidin concentrations in healthy pediatric population by using a well-established laboratory kit. The difference in hepcidin concentrations in older children could be attributed to different growth rates. Additionally, differences between values in adults and children could reflect alterations in iron metabolism between those two age groups.

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