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Haematologica. 1994 Mar-Apr;79(2):165-7.

Prevalence of high serum and red cell ferritin levels in HIV-infected patients.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital de Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.


We report a high prevalence of elevated serum and red cell ferritin (SF and RCF) levels in 168 patients with HIV infection. SF levels increase with clinical worsening of infection and with decreasing CD4+ lymphocyte counts (ANOVA, p < 0.001) while RCF is significantly higher in asymptomatic AIDS patients (ANOVA, p < 0.001) and in those treated with zidovudine (AZT) (ANOVA, p < 0.001). It is suggested that, although inflammatory processes may explain high SF levels, if we also take in account RCF levels a possible association between iron overload and HIV infection might exist, and this may be worsened by AZT treatment. The significance of these high ferritin levels and their effects on immune system suppression and susceptibility to infectious and neoplastic complications in these patients merits further investigation.

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