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J Hepatol. 2003 Dec;39(6):925-31.

Haemochromatosis-associated HFE genotypes in English blood donors: age-related frequency and biochemical expression.

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  • 1Academic Unit of Child Health, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.



There are limited data on the frequency and biochemical expression of the haemochromatosis-associated mutations C282Y and H63D in healthy people.


We genotyped (bi-directional PCR amplification of specific alleles method) and performed serum iron studies in randomly selected English male blood donors (<4 previous units donated) in four age bands <30, 30-40, 40-50 and >50 years.


In 6261 subjects, frequency of C282Y homozygosity (+/+) was 0.3%, C282Y/H63D compound heterozygosity (+/-) 2.0%, and H63D and C282Y heterozygosity +/-, 21.7 and 10.4%, respectively. Genotype distribution was within Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in each age band. C282Y +/- frequency fell from 11.7% in subjects <30 years to 8.2% in subjects >50 (Chi2 7.19; P<0.005). No such trend was seen for C282Y +/+. In C282Y +/+ subjects, median serum ferritin was 247 (range 60-2449) microg/l and exceeded >500 microg/l in only two of 18 subjects. Compared to wild/wild (-/-) subjects, C282Y and H63D +/- subjects had slightly higher serum iron and lower unsaturated iron binding concentrations, similar overall serum ferritin values but higher serum ferritin values in subjects who had previously donated blood.


C282Y +/+ shows limited biochemical expression and no trend towards age-related attrition. C282Y and H63D +/- may protect against iron deficiency.

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