The aim of this study was to explore whether inflammation related to thalassemia has a relation with serum level of calprotectin as an inflammatory marker in children.
Materials and methods
In this case–control study, 40 patients with β-thalassemia major (BTM) receiving regular blood transfusion aged 4–15 years and a group of 20 healthy children were enrolled. Serum concentration of calprotectin was measured and correlated with the duration of the disease and the frequency of blood transfusion.
There was a significant difference between thalassemic patients and controls as regards the mean level of serum calprotectin (P<0.001). Calprotectin level was higher in splenectomized thalassemic patients than in nonsplenectomized ones (P=0.01). Moreover, the level of calprotectin was higher in thalssemic patients with a disease duration of more than 6 years than in those with a disease duration of less than 6 years (P<0.001), and calprotectin levels were higher in thalassemic patients with a frequency of blood transfusion of less than 3 weeks than in patients with a frequency of blood transfusion of more than 3 weeks (P=0.01). There was a significant positive correlation between calprotectin and duration of the disease (r=0.5, P=0.002), and a nonsignificant negative correlation between calprotectin and the frequency of blood transfusion (r=−0.2, P=0.2).
The higher levels of calprotectin among patients with BTM indicated the possible inflammatory role of this marker in BTM. As there is a significant positive association between calprotectin and duration of thalassemia, calprotectin can be used as a marker to detect inflammation and subsequent complication early in the disease.