Ajuora Precious Ugochukwu*, Adias Teddy Charles and Eze Evelyn


There has been promising applications of hepcidin in diagnostic medicine, but these are focused on adults. The diagnostic utility of hepcidin is limited due to the lack of standardization and absence of age-specific reference ranges in children. This study was aimed at determining reference values of hepcidin among healthy children in Umuahia, South-eastern Nigeria. A total of 150 apparently healthy children from 5 primary schools across Umuahia, aged 0.5 – 17 years were enrolled in this study, using a cross-sectional study design. Venous blood was obtained from the subjects and tested for serum hepcidin, serum ferritin, and the full blood count (FBC). SPSS Windows version 20 was used for statistical analysis. The stochastic data were sorted into different age groups, gender, and times of blood sample collection (before and after 12:00pm, i.e 12:00 to 17:00pm), expressed as Median, P2.5, and P97.5 values of hepcidin concentration and hepcidin/Ft ratio. The Median, P2.5, and P97.5 values were used to construct reference ranges for the various groups. The normality of the data was tested using histograms and the Shapiro-Wilk test. Hepcidin and ferritin concentrations showed skewed distributions, hence were log-transformed prior to analysis. The unpaired T test was used to evaluate differences between gender and times of blood sample collection. ANOVA was used to assess differences between the age groups and various parameters. Data were considered significant at . Results showed unique reference values for the hepcidin concentration (24.68 – 202.16 and the hepcidin:ferritin ratio (0.45 – 2.87 ) among all subjects in our setting. Reference values of hepcidin among male children (32.18 – 106.70) was significantly different from that of the females (21.21 – 177.62 ) (p = .02). Reference values of hepcidin obtained among healthy children in Umuahia are unique from other setting. It is thus recommended that reference values of healthy children in other setting should not be used for diagnostic purpose in Umuahia.

Keywords: Hepcidin, ferritin, iron, children.

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