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Curr Opin Hematol. 1996 Mar;3(2):145-9.

Current issues in iron deficiency.

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University of Kansas Medical Center, Division of Hematology/Bone Marrow Transplantation, Kansas City 66160-7235, USA.


This brief review of developments relating to iron deficiency during the past year covers three main areas: iron supplementation, the regulation of iron absorption, and the use of the serum transferrin receptor for the assessment of iron status. The intermittent administration of iron supplement once or twice weekly rather than daily has been advocated by international health agencies in recent years, but radioiron absorption studies in human subjects have failed to demonstrate any absorptive advantage of the intermittent schedule. The value of prophylactic iron supplementation in elderly blood donors was evaluated and shown to offer limited benefit in maintaining donation frequency. A recent model of the regulation of iron absorption involving erythropoietic and store regulators is discussed and a recent article indicating a potential non-hematopoietic effect of hematopoietic growth factors on iron absorption by the gastrointestinal mucosal cell is reviewed. A new measure of functional iron deficiency, namely the serum transferrin receptor, is discussed, with particular reference to its mechanism of production and its great value in distinguishing iron deficiency anemia from the anemia of chronic disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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