Elísio Costa a, d, e , Brian J.G. Pereira i , Petronila Rocha-Pereira b , Susana Rocha d, e , Flávio Reis c , Elisabeth Castro d, e , Frederico Teixeira c , Vasco Miranda h , Maria do Sameiro Faria h , Alfredo Loureiro g , Alexandre Quintanilha e, f , Luís Belo d, e , Alice Santos-Silva d, e
20 March 2008
The aim of our study was to assess possible relations between prohepcidin, iron status and inflammatory markers in hemodialysis (HD) patients, as well as its association with resistance to recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) therapy. Fifty HD patients and 25 healthy controls were enrolled in the study. Among HD patients, 25 were non-responders and 25 were responders to rhEPO therapy. Complete blood cell count, reticulocyte count, and circulating levels of ferritin, iron, transferrin saturation, C-reactive protein (CRP), soluble interleukin (IL)-2 receptor (s-IL2R), soluble transferrin receptor (s-TfR), IL-6 and prohepcidin were measured in all patients and controls. HD patients showed higher circulating levels of ferritin, s-TfR, CRP, IL-6, s-IL2R and prohepcidin, and lower levels of transferrin compared to healthy controls. Higher levels of s-TfR, CRP and lower levels prohepcidin were observed among non-responders compared to responders. Prohepcidin levels correlated negatively with s-TfR and reticulocyte count. The weekly rhEPO/kg dose was found to be positively correlated with CRP, hemoglobin and s-TfR. In conclusion, our data show that a close interaction exists between inflammation, iron status and prohepcidin serum levels that ultimately regulate intracellular iron availability. Prohepcidin and s-TfR, together with CRP, may prove to be good markers of resistance to rhEPO therapy in HD patients.