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Increased Serum Levels of Hepcidin and Ferritin Are Associated with Severity of COVID-19

Cuixing Zhou, Yimeng Chen, Yun Ji, Xiaozhou He, Dong Xue

Urology Laboratory, Third Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Changzhou, Jiangsu, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e926178

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.926178

Available online: 2020-08-11

Published: 2020-09-26

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic utility of iron homeostasis determinations for prediction of severity of COVID-19.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: This was a retrospective study enrolling a total of 50 patients diagnosed with the novel coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) from February 27, 2020 to March 30, 2020, including a severe group (12 patients) and a mild group (38 patients). For the control group, 50 healthy people were examined during the same period. We compared clinical laboratory data and iron homeostasis biomarkers among the 3 groups. ROC curve analysis was used to assess diagnoses.
RESULTS: Patients diagnosed with severe COVID-19 had higher hepcidin and serum ferritin levels than in other groups (p<0.001). A combination test of hepcidin and serum ferritin provided the best specificity and sensitivity in the prognosis of COVID-19 severity. Logistic regression analysis showed hepcidin and serum ferritin independently contributed to the severity of COVID-19. Hepcidin and serum ferritin tandem testing predicted COVID-19 severity with 94.6% specificity, while hepcidin and serum ferritin parallel testing had a sensitivity of 95.7%.
CONCLUSIONS: Iron homeostasis had a robust association with the occurrence of severe COVID-19. Iron homeostasis determinations were specific and sensitive for the early prediction of disease severity in COVID-19 patients and thus have clinical utility.

Keywords: COVID-19, Hepcidins, Iron Metabolism Disorders