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Vol. 122, No. 2-3, 2009
Issue release date: November 2009

Anemia of Chronic Disease (Anemia of Inflammation)

Agarwal N. · Prchal J.T.
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Mild-to-moderate anemia often develops in the setting of acute or chronic immune activation and is termed anemia of chronic disease (ACD) or anemia of inflammation. Anemia of chronic disease is the second most common type of anemia (after anemia of iron deficiency) and results in increased morbidity and mortality of the underlying disease. Anemia of chronic disease is mediated by inflammatory cytokines and is characterized by low serum iron (hypoferremia) and often increased reticuloendothelial stores of iron. Hepcidin is the master regulator of iron homeostasis and its synthesis is inhibited by iron deficiency and stimulated by inflammation. The serum hepcidin level is useful in identifying iron deficiency in patients with ACD. Successful treatment of the underlying disease improves ACD. If that is not possible and if anemia is symptomatic, treatment with erythropoietic agents, supplemented with iron if necessary, is helpful in many cases.

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