Iron status and oxidative stress in β-thalassemia patients in Jakarta

D. R. Laksmitawati, Sri Handayani, S. K. Udyaningsih-Freisleben, V. Kurniati, C. Adhiyanto, J. Hidayat, S. Kusnandar, H. S.D. Dillon, B. G. Munthe, R. Wirawan, R. R. Soegianto, W. Ramelan, H. J. Freisleben

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35 Citations (Scopus)


A study on thalassemia intermedia and major patients in Jakarta was initiated to obtain a comprehensive picture of metabolic dysregulation, iron overload, oxidative stress, and cell damage. Data are presented from a group of 14 transfusion-dependent patients in an age range of 11-25 years (T) and another group of 9 frequently transfused (for at least 15 years) patients aged 17-30 years (L). A third group comprised 6 patients (aged 7 to 14 years) who had not yet obtained transfusions (N). The 21 controls (C) were voluntary students without diagnosis or clinical signs of thalassemia up to 30 years of age. The study was approved by the Ethical Clearance Board of the Medical Faculty and all blood samples from controls and patients were obtained on fully informed consent. Levels of antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E and β-carotene) and reactive thiols are considerably decreased in transfused patients, whereas signs of iron overload and cell damage are increased (serum iron, ferritin, transferrin saturation, SGOT, SGPT, γ-GT, bilirubin). Results can be summarized that non-transfused thalassemia intermedia patients exert slight signs of oxidative stress, and increased hemoglobin degradation but no significant indication of tissue or cell damage. This picture differs considerably from transfusion-dependent thalassemia major patients: highly significant decrease in antioxidants and thiols and tremendous iron overload and cell damage. The picture is even worsened in long-term transfused patients. Iron chelation after transfusion is not sufficient in Indonesia, because it is normally (with few exceptions) applied only once together with transfusion. Hence, one major reason of the bad condition of transfusion-dependent thalassemia patients in Indonesia appears to be frequent transfusions (on the average one per month) and insufficient chelation of one treatment per month together with transfusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Iron status
  • Oxidative stress
  • Thalassemia intermedia
  • Thalassemia major
  • Transfusion


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