Reproductive capacity in iron overloaded women with thalassemia major

Department of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital and Research Center, Oakland, CA 94609, USA.
Blood (Impact Factor: 10.45). 07/2011; 118(10):2878-81. DOI: 10.1182/blood-2011-06-360271
Source: PubMed


The pathophysiology of iron-induced compromised fertility in women with thalassemia major (TM) was evaluated in 26 adult TM females. Low gonadotropin secretion resulted in reduced ovarian antral follicle count and ovarian volume, but levels of anti-müllerian hormone (AMH), a sensitive marker for ovarian reserve independent of gonadotropin effect, were mostly normal. AMH correlated with non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI), suggesting a role of labile iron in the pathogenesis of decreased reproductive capacity, possibly occurring in parallel to cardiac iron toxicity, as cardiac iron was associated with the presence of amenorrhea and with NTBI levels. AMH emerges as an important biomarker for assessment of reproductive capacity in TM, demonstrating that fertility is preserved in the majority of those younger than 30 to 35 years. AMH can be useful in future studies aiming at improved chelation for fertility preservation, whereas NTBI and labile plasma iron may be valuable for monitoring iron effect on the reproductive system.

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    • "Overall, the report of a large number of successful pregnancies so far is highly indicative of the relative safety of pregnancy in the iron-adjusted BTM woman [4]. The iron-induced effect seems to have a central role in the pathogenesis of the decreased reproductive capacity [9]. "
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