Genome wide studies have associated TMPRSS6 rs855791 (2321 C>T) with iron status and hepcidin. It is unclear whether this polymorphism affects iron absorption. In nonanemic Taiwanese women (n=79, 44 TT variant, 35 CC variant), we administered standardized rice-based test meals containing 4 mg of labeled 57Fe or 58Fe as FeSO4 on alternate days. Fractional iron absorption was measured by erythrocyte incorporation of the tracers 14 days after administration. Compared to the CC variant, in the TT variant serum iron and transferrin saturation were lower (P=0.001; P<0.001, respectively) and serum hepcidin/transferrin saturation and serum hepcidin/serum iron ratios were higher (P=0.042; P=0.088, respectively). Serum hepcidin did not differ between groups (P=0.862). Geometric mean (95% CI) fractional iron absorption, corrected to a serum ferritin of 15 g/L, was 26.6% (24.0, 29.5) in the CC variant and 18.5% (16.2, 21.1) in the TT variant (P=0.002). Overall, predictors of iron absorption were: serum ferritin (P<0.001); genetic variant (P=0.032); and hepcidin (P<0.001). In the models by variant, in the CC variant the model explained 67-71% of variability in absorption and serum ferritin was the only significant predictor (P<0.001); in the TT variant, the model explained only 35-43% of variability, and hemoglobin (P=0.032), soluble transferrin receptor (P=0.004) and hepcidin (P<0.001) were significant predictors. Women with the TMPRSS6 rs855791 (2321 C>T) polymorphism show altered iron homeostasis which affects oral iron absorption and may increase their risk for iron deficiency. The trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03317873, and funded by the Kaohsiung Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, (grant CMRPG8F0721) and ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
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