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Iron homeostasis in full-term, normal birthweight Gambian neonates over the first week of life

Cross, James H., Jarjou, Ousman, Mohammed, Nuredin Ibrahim, Rayment Gomez, Santiago, Touray, Bubacarr J. B., Kessler, Noah J., Prentice, Andrew M. and Cerami, Carla 2023. Iron homeostasis in full-term, normal birthweight Gambian neonates over the first week of life. Scientific Reports 13 (1) , 10349. 10.1038/s41598-023-34592-z

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Human neonates elicit a profound hypoferremia which may protect against bacterial sepsis. We examined the transience of this hypoferremia by measuring iron and its chaperone proteins, inflammatory and haematological parameters over the first post-partum week. We prospectively studied term, normal weight Gambian newborns. Umbilical cord vein and artery, and serial venous blood samples up to day 7 were collected. Hepcidin, serum iron, transferrin, transferrin saturation, haptoglobin, c-reactive protein, α1-acid-glycoprotein, soluble transferrin receptor, ferritin, unbound iron-binding capacity and full blood count were assayed. In 278 neonates we confirmed the profound early postnatal decrease in serum iron (22.7 ± 7.0 µmol/L at birth to 7.3 ± 4.6 µmol/L during the first 6–24 h after birth) and transferrin saturation (50.2 ± 16.7% to 14.4 ± 6.1%). Both variables increased steadily to reach 16.5 ± 3.9 µmol/L and 36.6 ± 9.2% at day 7. Hepcidin increased rapidly during the first 24 h of life (19.4 ± 14.4 ng/ml to 38.9 ± 23.9 ng/ml) and then dipped (32.7 ± 18.4 ng/ml) before rising again at one week after birth (45.2 ± 19.1 ng/ml). Inflammatory markers increased during the first week of life. The acute postnatal hypoferremia in human neonates on the first day of life is highly reproducible but transient. The rise in serum iron during the first week of life occurs despite very high hepcidin levels indicating partial hepcidin resistance. Trial Registration: (NCT03353051). Registration date: November 27, 2017.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 2045-2322
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 June 2023
Date of Acceptance: 4 May 2023
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2023 18:39

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