JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Levels of growth differentiation factor-15 are high and correlate with clinical severity in transfusion-independent patients with β thalassemia intermedia.

Transfusion-independent patients with β thalassemia intermedia (TI) experience a variety of clinical complications attributed to the underlying ineffective erythropoiesis and subsequent anemia, hemolysis, and iron overload. Growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF-15) was recently investigated as a marker of ineffective erythropoiesis in several anemias. In this work, we evaluated GDF-15 levels in 55 patients with TI. The mean GDF-15 level was 25,197.8±16,208.9pg/ml which is lower than values reported for patients with thalassemia major, yet considerably higher than those reported in patients with other congenital and acquired anemias. GDF-15 levels were significantly higher in splenectomized compared to non-splenectomized patients and correlated with anemia, markers of iron overload, and a pre-defined clinical severity score. Further studies are needed to determine the practical utility of GDF-15 measurement and its potential to reflect the severity of the clinical course in TI patients.

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