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Hepcidin plasma levels are not associated with changes in haemoglobin in early rheumatoid arthritis patients

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  • R D Østgård
  • H Glerup
  • ,
  • A G Jurik
  • T W Kragstrup
  • K Stengaard-Pedersen
  • M. L Hetland, g Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences , University of Copenhagen , Copenhagen , Denmark.
  • ,
  • K Hørslev-Petersen, h Department of Rheumatology, King Christian 10th Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Graasten , Denmark and University of Southern Denmark , Odense , Denmark.
  • ,
  • P. Junker, i Department of Rheumatology , Odense University Hospital , Odense , Denmark.
  • ,
  • B W Deleuran

OBJECTIVE: A reduction in haemoglobin level is a frequent complication among rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Hepcidin has been linked to disturbed erythropoiesis. The objective of this study was to investigate the longitudinal changes in hepcidin in patients with early RA.

METHOD: Hepcidin plasma concentrations were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in patients with early RA (n = 80) and healthy volunteers (HV, n = 40). Haemoglobin and other iron-related proteins were also measured. At baseline, all patients had active disease and were treatment naïve. Patients were treated with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and with additional adalimumab (ADA, n = 42) or placebo (PLA, n = 38) during 52 weeks, using a treat-to-target strategy, aiming for a 28-joint Disease Activity Score (DAS28) < 3.2.

RESULTS: At baseline, hepcidin levels [median (interquartile range)] were 9.7 ng/mL (5.2-19.4 ng/mL) in DMARD + ADA and 11.3 ng/mL (5.9-19.1 ng/mL) in DMARD + PLA. Both were significantly higher than seen in HV (6.0 ng/mL (3.3-9.3 ng/mL) (p < 0.001). After 12 months, both treatment regimens resulted in normalization of hepcidin. DAS28 correlated with hepcidin at baseline (r = 0.48, p < 0.001). No correlation was observed between levels of haemoglobin and hepcidin at baseline or during the 52 week follow-up. No change in haemoglobin levels was seen as a function of hepcidin changes. In a mixed statistical model, no single factor was connected with the regulation of haemoglobin in early RA.

CONCLUSION: The changes in hepcidin were not associated with changes in haemoglobin levels. Thus, hepcidin could not be used as a prognostic marker in patients with early RA.

TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Rheumatology
Sider (fra-til)441-445
Antal sider5
StatusUdgivet - 9 maj 2017

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