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October 10, 2001

Research: Cure

Question from Santa Rosa, California, USA:

It has been said on this website that low ferritin is not related to the development of diabetes, but it would be necessary to correct to facilitate a cure. Have there been any studies of ferritin and transferrin receptor levels in children with diabetes?


The status of iron metabolism does not at the present play a role in the diagnosis and management of autoimmune diabetes, and it is perhaps stretching a point to say that correcting a low ferritin level would be necessary to facilitate a cure.

I think that perhaps you may have been thinking of a report from Belgium. Recently, this group measured both serum ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) levels in a group of individuals with type 1 diabetes. The essence of what they showed was that in subjects who had parietal cell antibodies and were at risk for atrophic gastritis, elevated sTfR levels were a better index of iron deficiency anemia than serum ferritin and indirectly of autoimmune damage to gastric parietal cells. In the US, parietal cell autoantibodies have not attracted as much attention as part of the Autoimmune Polyglandular Syndrome Type II as they have in Europe.