This study aimed to evaluate the iron status in a sample of Egyptian children with autism, depending on serum ferritin and transferrin saturation as major biomarkers in addition to blood haemoglobin. A sample of 30 children with autism and 30 normal children have participated in the study, and subdivided according to the age ranges. Generally, blood haemoglobin concentration was significantly lower in autistics than in normally-developed children and was below the cut-off points as well. Also, the iron concentrations were highly reduced by â‰ˆ 36 - 37% of the controls concentrations; while the total iron binding capacity was significantly higher in autistics (p Ë‚ 0.001). Ferritin exhibited significant lower values in serum of children with autism (p Ë‚ 0.001) than in the corresponding controls. Transferrin saturation, compared to the normally developed children, was significantly lower and below the cut-off point (Ë‚ 16%). Interestingly, there was a significant positive correlation between ferritin and age, haemoglobin, iron and transferrin saturation values. Additionally, the chi-square analysis of transferrin saturation indicated the significant association of transferrin saturation in prevalence of iron deficiency. Therefore, iron deficiency was prevailed in children with autism than in control (83.3%) to (16.7%). Similarly, the chi-square analysis of haemoglobin showed that the prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia in children with autism (96.3%) was more than in normally–developed children (3.7%). The study suggests that frequent tracking of ferritin and transferrin saturation levels could protect the autistics from iron depletion and iron deficiency anaemia, as well as its consequences of mental and physical impairments.
Autism, haemoglobin, iron deficiency, anaemia, ferritin, transferrin saturation