In Ivorian school-age children, infection with hookworm does not reduce dietary iron absorption or systemic iron utilization, whereas afebrile Plasmodium falciparum infection reduces iron absorption by half
SourceThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101, 3, (2015), pp. 462-470
Article / Letter to editor
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The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
SubjectRadboudumc 14: Tumours of the digestive tract RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
BACKGROUND: In sub-Saharan Africa, parasitic diseases and low bioavailable iron intake are major causes of anemia. Anemia results from inflammation, preventing iron recycling and decreasing dietary iron absorption. Hookworm, Plasmodium, and Schistosoma infections contribute to anemia, but their influence on dietary iron absorption and recycling is unknown. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to measure inflammation biomarkers, hepcidin, iron absorption, and utilization pre- and posttreatment in children with afebrile malaria, hookworm, and Schistosoma haematobium infection. DESIGN: Ivorian children aged 11-17 y with afebrile Plasmodium falciparum (n = 17), hookworm (n = 16), or S. haematobium infection (n = 8) consumed a syrup containing 3 mg (57)Fe as ferrous sulfate and received an intravenous infusion of 50 mug (58)Fe as ferrous citrate. Children were treated for their respective infection, and the iron studies were repeated 4 wk later. Iron and inflammation biomarkers and hepcidin were measured. RESULTS: Geometric mean iron absorptions in the afebrile malaria and hookworm groups were 12.9% and 32.2% (P < 0.001) before treatment and 23.6% and 30.0% (P = 0.113) after treatment, respectively. Treatment of afebrile malaria reduced inflammation (P < 0.001) and serum hepcidin (P = 0.004) and improved iron absorption (P = 0.003). Treatment of hookworm infection neither affected inflammation biomarkers nor altered iron absorption. Similarly, there was a lack of treatment effects in the S. haematobium-infected group; however, the small sample size limits conclusions. Geometric mean iron utilization ranged between 79.1% and 88.0% in the afebrile malaria and hookworm groups with no significant differences pre- and posttreatment. CONCLUSIONS: In school-age children, hookworm infection does not produce inflammation or increase serum hepcidin, and it does not influence iron absorption or utilization. In contrast, afebrile malaria causes inflammation, increases hepcidin, and reduces iron absorption but not utilization. These findings provide insights into the iron metabolism and the etiology of anemia in parasitic infections. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01163877.
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