Correlations between Iron Load and CD4 in Adult Transfusion-Dependent Beta Thalassemia

Tubagus Djumhana Atmakusuma, Ralph Girson, Sukamto Koesnoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Thalassemia is a hereditary disease, and severe anemia is the main phenotype of major thalassemia. Furthermore, the most important method in the management of this disease is red blood cell transfusion. Regular transfusions administered 1 or 2 times every month improve prognosis and survival. However, there is higher risk of infections and iron overload, especially in transfusion-dependent thalassemia (TDT). Infections are the second leading cause of death in adult TDT, after heart failure. Higher risk of infection is also influenced by multiple blood transfusions which causes alteration in immune response due to alloimmunization, transfusion-related infections, and iron overload. Meanwhile, iron overload in TDT alters both innate and specific immune responses. Furthermore, previous studies have shown the correlation between ferritin with CD4, but this has not been carried out in Indonesia. Therefore, this study aims to determine the correlations between iron overload (serum ferritin and transferrin saturation) and specific immune cells (CD4). Methods. This is a cross-sectional study, and a total number of 64 subjects were examined consecutively. Chest X-ray and blood sera were obtained. The total number of subjects was 64. The seromarkers HBsAg, anti-HCV, and anti-HIV were tested using the ELISA method. Serum ferritin and transferrin saturation was tested using ECLIA, and lymphocyte subsets were analyzed using flowcytometry. Meanwhile, the correlation between variables was determined using Spearman's test. Results. The results showed that 4.9% subjects were HBsAg positive, 10.7% were anti-HCV positive, and none were anti-HIV positive. There were 4 subjects with lung tuberculosis based on the 41 chest X-ray. Meanwhile, there was a weak negative and insignificant correlation between serum ferritin with CD4 (p=0.75; r = -0.04) and a weak positive and insignificant correlation between transferrin saturation with CD4 (p=0.133; r = 0.19). Conclusion. There were no correlations between iron overload (ferritin) and cellular immunity (CD4) in adult transfusion-dependent thalassemia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5549503
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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