Screening selected blood donors with biochemical iron overload for hemochromatosis: A regional experience

Marco De Gobbi, Sergio D'Antico, Franco Castagno, Domenico Testa, Roberta Merlini, Alessandro Bondi, Clara Camaschella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Backgrounds and Objectives. Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive iron overload which leads to early abnormalities of iron parameters (increased transferrin saturation =TS and serum ferritin=SF) and late clinical complications. The disease is prevalently due to C282Y and H63D mutations in the HFE gene, but additional molecular defects are present in a minority of patients. Design and Methods. From January to December 2002 we screened first time blood donors of Piedmont, a region of North-western Italy, for TS>45%. Individuals with TS>45% underwent a second fasting check, SF assessment and molecular tests, investigating 12 hemochromatosis-associated molecular defects. Results. A total of 13,998 subjects were screened; 868 (6.2%) had TS>45% and were recalled. Four hundred and eight-six underwent molecular testing. In this selected population allele frequencies of C282Y, H63D and S65C were 6.8%, 22.4% and 1.0%, respectively. No rare mutations were detected, except E168Q in HFE. When measured during fasting, TS was significantly higher in C282Y homozygotes and H63D/C282Y heterozygotes (p45% is feasible but, in order to be cost effective should be based on the identification of the two prevalent mutations even in an area where several forms of hemochromatosis have been reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1161-1167
Number of pages7
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


  • Blood donors
  • Hemochromatosis
  • HFE
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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