Rohner F, Namaste SML, Larson LM, Addo OY, Mei Z, Suchdev PS, Williams AM, Sakr Ashour FA, Rawat R, Raiten DJ, Northrop-Clewes CA
June 2017 – American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Iron deficiency is thought to be one of the most prevalent micronutrient deficiencies globally, but an accurate assessment in populations who are frequently exposed to infections is impeded by the inflammatory response, which causes iron-biomarker alterations. We assessed the relation between soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) concentrations and inflammation and malaria in preschool children (PSC) and women of reproductive age (WRA) and investigated adjustment algorithms to account for these effects using cross-sectional data from the Biomarkers Reflecting the Inflammation and Nutritional Determinants of Anemia (BRINDA) project. The following 3 adjustment approaches were compared with estimated iron-deficient erythropoiesis (sTfR concentration >8.3 mg/L): 1) the exclusion of individuals with C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations >5 mg/L or α-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP) concentrations >1 g/L, 2) the application of arithmetic correction factors, and 3) the use of regression approaches. The prevalence of elevated sTfR concentrations incrementally decreased as CRP and AGP deciles decreased for PSC and WRA, but the effect was more pronounced for AGP than for CRP. Depending on the approach used to adjust for inflammation, the estimated prevalence of iron-deficient erythropoiesis decreased by 4.4-14.6 and 0.3-9.5 percentage points in PSC and WRA, respectively, compared with unadjusted values. The correction-factor approach yielded a more modest reduction in the estimated prevalence of iron-deficient erythropoiesis than did the regression approach.