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Trop Med Int Health. 2014 Jan;19(1):117-22. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12216. Epub 2013 Oct 31.

Anaemia, iron deficiency and a common polymorphism of iron-regulation, TMPRSS6 rs855791, in Rwandan children.

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Department of Molecular Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Nuthetal, Germany.


Anaemia in children living in sub-Saharan Africa is common, but its causes are diverse. In 545 children below 5 years of age from rural southern Rwanda, we assessed the role of iron deficiency (ID) and of the TMPRSS6 736(V) (rs855791) allele, known to reduce iron status and haemoglobin (Hb) levels, in anaemia and Hb concentrations. Anaemia (Hb <11 g/dl) was present in 34.4% of the children and ID (ferritin <12 ng/ml) in 17.6%. The TMPRSS6 736(V) allele was uncommon (allele frequency, 0.096) and not associated with ID. In multivariate analysis, ID was positively associated with anaemia (adjusted odds ratio, 1.67) to an extent comparable with α(+) -thalassaemia, breastfeeding, inflammation and low household income, but the odds were substantially higher in Plasmodium falciparum infection (adjusted odds ratio, 10.3). These findings were verified in a multivariate analysis of Hb concentrations. The TMPRSS6 736(V) allele only tended to be associated with low Hb levels. TMPRSS6 736(V) is comparatively rare among Rwandan children and may only slightly contribute to low Hb concentrations. Preventable causes of anaemia, notably ID and P. falciparum infection, largely outweigh its impact and need to be addressed to improve the haematological status of children in the study area.


Rwanda; TMPRSS6; anaemia; iron deficiency

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