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Study of maternal influences on fetal iron status at term using cord blood transferrin receptors
  1. D G Sweeta,
  2. G Savageb,
  3. T R J Tubmana,
  4. T R J Lappinb,
  5. H L Hallidaya
  1. aDepartment of Child Health, The Queen's University of Belfast and Regional Neonatal Unit, Royal Maternity Hospital, Belfast, UK, bDepartment of Haematology, The Queen's University of Belfast
  1. Dr D G Sweet, Perinatal Room, Royal Maternity Hospital, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BB, Northern Ireland, UKdsweet{at}


AIMS To determine effects of maternal iron depletion and smoking on iron status of term babies using serum transferrin receptors (STfR) and their ratio to ferritin (TfR-F index) in cord blood.

METHODS Iron, ferritin, STfR, and haemoglobin (Hb) concentration were measured and TfR-F index calculated in 67 cord /maternal blood pairs. Twenty six mothers were iron depleted (ferritin <10 μg/l) and 28 were smokers.

RESULTS Maternal iron depletion was associated with decreased cord ferritin (113v 171 μg/l) and Hb (156v 168 g/l) but no change in STfR or TfR-F index. Smoking was associated with increased cord Hb (168v 157 g/l) and TfR-F index (4.1v 3.4), and decreased ferritin (123v 190 μg/l). Cord TfR-F index and Hb were positively correlated (r = 0.48).

CONCLUSIONS Maternal iron depletion is associated with reduced fetal iron stores but no change in free iron availability. Smoking is associated with increased fetal iron requirements for erythropoiesis.

  • iron status
  • pregnancy
  • smoking
  • transferrin receptors

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