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Kidney Int. 2010 Oct;78(8):769-73. doi: 10.1038/ki.2010.254. Epub 2010 Jul 28.

Intra-individual variability in serum hepcidin precludes its use as a marker of iron status in hemodialysis patients.

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Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


An accurate assessment of iron status in dialysis patients is important because both anemia and overtreatment with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents are associated with poor clinical outcomes. We have previously shown that both analytical and intra-individual (biological) variability in serum ferritin limits its utility as a proxy for iron stores in patients in this setting. As hepcidin is a direct regulator of iron status, its measurement might be useful for monitoring patients with iron dysregulation. We assessed short-term intra-individual variation of serum hepcidin in 28 patients with stable chronic kidney disease on hemodialysis. The intra-individual variability for serum hepcidin ranged from 9-79% during an initial 2-week to 12-85% over a 6-week period. The concentration of serum hepcidin was significantly correlated with serum C-reactive protein levels over the 6-week study period. Hence, significant intra-individual variability of hepcidin is likely dependent on short-term fluctuations in the inflammatory state. Thus, our results suggest that short-term measurement of serum hepcidin should not be used to guide clinical decisions regarding management of iron status in chronic hemodialysis patients.

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