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Z Gastroenterol. 2003 Nov;41(11):1069-76.

HFE genotype and parameters of iron metabolism in German first-time blood donors - evidence for an increased transferrin saturation in C282Y heterozygotes.

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  • 1Dept. of Gastroenterology and Endocrinology, Göttingen.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hemochromatosis is usually inherited in an autosomal recessive mode and associated with missense mutations in the hemochromatosis gene (HFE), an HLA class 1 related gene. However the degree of penetrance is presently matter of debate.

METHODS:

To elucidate the frequency of HFE mutations in a German population and the relationship between genotype and phenotype, we determined the HFE C282Y and H63D genotypes in 500 first-time blood donors using an allele-specific ligase chain reaction (LCR). Ferritin and transferrin saturation (TS) of all donors found to have at least one mutation were compared to gender- and age-matched controls.

RESULTS:

The C282Y allele frequency was 46 in 1000 chromosomes (4.6 %). The allele frequency of H63D was 108 in 1000 (10.8 %) chromosomes. We found three persons homozygous for H63D, nine compound heterozygotes and none homozygous for C282Y. TS was elevated in C282Y heterozygotes (p = 0.002) and C282Y/H63D compound heterozygotes (p = 0.04) compared to wild-type controls. Serum ferritin tended to be elevated in compound heterozygotes (p = 0.053). Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and hemoglobin (MCH) were not different from controls.

CONCLUSION:

The frequency of HFE mutations in the tested population was comparable to those of other northern European populations. The elevated TS in subjects carrying a single copy of the C282Y mutation suggests that C282Y heterozygosity is associated with an increased intestinal iron absorption and might therefore offer a selection advantage in conditions of iron depletion.

PMID:
14648375
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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