Hepcidin-induced iron deficiency is related to transient anemia and hypoferremia in Kawasaki disease patients

Ying Hsien Huang*, Ho Chang Kuo, Fu Chen Huang, Hong Ren Yu, Kai Sheng Hsieh, Ya Ling Yang, Jiunn Ming Sheen, Sung Chou Li, Hsing Chun Kuo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

29 Scopus citations


Kawasaki disease (KD) is a type of systemic vasculitis that primarily affects children under the age of five years old. For sufferers of KD, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) has been found to successfully diminish the occurrence of coronary artery lesions. Anemia is commonly found in KD patients, and we have shown that in appropriately elevated hepcidin levels are related to decreased hemoglobin levels in these patients. In this study, we investigated the time period of anemia and iron metabolism during different stages of KD. A total of 100 patients with KD and 20 control subjects were enrolled in this study for red blood cell and hemoglobin analysis. Furthermore, plasma, urine hepcidin, and plasma IL-6 levels were evaluated using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 20 KD patients and controls. Changes in hemoglobin, plasma iron levels, and total iron binding capacity (TIBC) were also measured in patients with KD. Hemoglobin, iron levels, and TIBC were lower (p < 0.001, p = 0.009, and p < 0.001, respectively) while plasma IL-6 and hepcidin levels (both p < 0.001) were higher in patients with KD than in the controls prior to IVIG administration. Moreover, plasma hepcidin levels were positively and significantly correlated with urine hepcidin levels (p < 0.001) prior to IVIG administration. After IVIG treatment, plasma hepcidin and hemoglobin levels significantly decreased (both p < 0.001). Of particular note was a subsequent gradual increase in hemoglobin levels during the three weeks after IVIG treatment; nevertheless, the hemoglobin levels stayed lower in KD patients than in the controls (p = 0.045). These findings provide a longitudinal study of hemoglobin changes and among the first evidence that hepcidin induces transient anemia and hypoferremia during KD’s acute inflammatory phase.

Original languageEnglish
Article number715
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 12 05 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Anemia
  • Hepcidin
  • Iron
  • Kawasaki disease


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