Abnormalities in iron metabolism in multiple sclerosis.
Valberg LS., Flanagan PR., Kertesz A., Ebers GC.
High iron concentrations have been reported in the brains of multiple sclerosis victims. To determine if there are abnormalities in general iron metabolism indicative of iron overload in MS, measurements of transferrin saturation, serum ferritin and red cell ferritin in 31 female and 18 male patients were compared to the results in 49 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Compared to controls, mean serum ferritin in MS was high, whereas transferrin saturation and red cell ferritin were similar. High values in one or more individual test results were observed in eleven MS patients. They were prevalent in patients who required bilateral assistance to walk or were confined to a chair, and appeared to be related to the severity of the disease. An investigation was made into the relationship of the high serum ferritin values in MS to the HLA-A3 histocompatibility antigen, a marker of the hemochromatosis gene which is prevalent in MS. A statistically significant interaction was not found between serum ferritin and the presence of HLA-A3.