Background and Objective
Hepcidin is the key regulator of iron metabolism and is a significant biomarker for systemic inflammatory states. Vitamin D is a powerful immunomodulator and plays a significant role in the inflammatory responses and fibrosis occurring due to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This study assessed the level of vitamin D and serum hepcidin and its expression in peripheral blood of children with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and correlated them with other serum markers to reflect iron metabolism and liver disease severity.
A total of 100 children were included in this study: 50 with HCV infection and 50 healthy controls. Biochemical parameters together with vitamin D, hepcidin, and its expression were all measured.
The level of hepcidin and its expression together with vitamin D and hepcidin-to-ferritin (H/F) ratios were significantly reduced in patients, but the iron and ferritin levels were higher (P<0.001). Serum hepcidin level showed significant positive correlation with hepcidin expression, HCV titer, iron, ferritin, and H/F ratio (r = 0.43, 0.31, 0.34, 0.28, and 0.91, respectively) but significant negative correlation with vitamin D (r = −0.37). Both hepcidin and ferritin were higher in patients with Child Pugh scores B and C than those with score A (P<0.001).
Measuring serum hepcidin and its expression together with vitamin D levels in patients may have a prognostic value and is promising in the follow-up of the severity of liver disease.