The incidence of anemia in premature and very low birth weight neonates is very high. Iron supplemetation should be considered in these patients but the cost-benefit ratio of this therapeutic measure is not always clear. Hepcidin might help address this question. Hepcidin is a regulator of iron homeostatis: when the hepcidin level is high, intestinal iron absorption and systemic iron availability are low; vice versa, a low hepcidin level enhances plasmatic iron availability. Müller et al. measured urine and serum concentrations of hepcidin in 31 preterm infants (23-32 weeks gestational age). They found that the measurement of hepcidin from urine and serum seems reliable, and that hepcidin level might be a useful information when an iron supplementation is considered. However, futher studies must be conducted before we start to use this new biomarker.
– Jacques Lacroix