Vol 64, No 4 (2013)
Original paper
Published online: 2013-09-03

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Comparison of serum prohepcidin and iron metabolism parameters in obese and non-obese elderly individuals

Justyna Przybyszewska, Ewa Żekanowska, Kornelia Kędziora-Kornatowska, Joanna Boinska, Katarzyna Porzych, Michał Przybyszewski, Roman Cichon
DOI: 10.5603/EP.2013.0005
Endokrynol Pol 2013;64(4):272-277.


Introduction: Current knowledge indicates that there is a close connection between being overweight, obesity and iron metabolism disorders,but the underlying mechanism is unclear. Hepcidin could be a major contributor to poor iron status observed in the obese population.

Material and methods: The study was performed in 58 obese elderly individuals (F/M 34/24) aged 65-91 (78.92 ± 8.32) years. The controlgroup consisted of 15 non-obese elderly volunteers, age- and sex-matched. Based on the WHO definition, 36 (62%) obese individualswere diagnosed with normo- or microcytic anaemia. The following parameters were determined: prohepcidin, haemoglobin, serum iron,erythropoietin, ferritin and C-reactive protein (CRP).

Results: Prohepcidin concentrations were significantly increased in obese elderly individuals without anaemia compared to obese andanaemic (p < 0.01) as well as non-obese volunteers (p < 0.01). In obese individuals with anaemia there was a decrease in serum iron,concomitant with increased levels of erythropoietin and CRP compared to two other groups. Ferritin concentration was increased inobese people (with and without anaemia) compared to the non-obese group. Serum prohepcidin levels were positively correlated withfat mass percentage in obese individuals without and with anaemia (r = 0.32; p = 0.02).

Conclusion: Results of this preliminary study suggest that body fat content does have an impact on prohepcidin concentration, andthereby on iron homeostasis.