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Ann Biol Clin (Paris). 2015 Nov-Dec;73(6):639-42. doi: 10.1684/abc.2015.1091.

[Iron deficiency in elderly patients: use of biomarkers].

[Article in French]

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Service de court séjour gériatrique, GH Pitié-Salpêtrière-Charles Foix-DHU FAST, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Charles Foix, Ivry-sur-Seine, France, UFR Médecine Pierre et Marie Curie, Université Paris 6, France.


Iron deficiency, due to blood loss or malabsorption, is commonly observed in geriatric practice. In elderly people, association of inflammatory diseases to iron loss makes diagnosis of absolute iron deficiency sometimes difficult. In case of inflammation, the interpretation of usual biomarkers of iron deficiency (serum ferritin, transferrin saturation, serum iron) may be difficult. The recent discovery of the role of hepcidine in the iron homeostasis, in physiological and pathological situation, contributes to better understanding of the iron regulation. The aim of this short paper is to underline some specificities of elderly iron physiology, to explain hepcidine's role in physiological and pathological situations and to propose a diagnostic approach for a better interpretation of usual biomarkers, in order to differentiate absolute iron deficiency and functional iron deficiency.


anemia; biomarker; iron; iron deficiency

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