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Blood. 2011 Sep 8;118(10):2878-81. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-06-360271. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

Reproductive capacity in iron overloaded women with thalassemia major.

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Department of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital and Research Center, Oakland, CA 94609, USA.


The pathophysiology of iron-induced compromised fertility in women with thalassemia major (TM) was evaluated in 26 adult TM females. Low gonadotropin secretion resulted in reduced ovarian antral follicle count and ovarian volume, but levels of anti-müllerian hormone (AMH), a sensitive marker for ovarian reserve independent of gonadotropin effect, were mostly normal. AMH correlated with non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI), suggesting a role of labile iron in the pathogenesis of decreased reproductive capacity, possibly occurring in parallel to cardiac iron toxicity, as cardiac iron was associated with the presence of amenorrhea and with NTBI levels. AMH emerges as an important biomarker for assessment of reproductive capacity in TM, demonstrating that fertility is preserved in the majority of those younger than 30 to 35 years. AMH can be useful in future studies aiming at improved chelation for fertility preservation, whereas NTBI and labile plasma iron may be valuable for monitoring iron effect on the reproductive system.

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