Extrinsic factors modifying expressivity of the HFE variant C282Y, H63D, S65C phenotypes in 1,294 Danish men
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This study analysed the influence of extrinsic factors on the phenotypic expression of HFE gene variants in ethnic Danish men. A cohort of 6,020 men aged 30-53 years was screened for HFE C282Y, H63D and S65C variants. Serum iron, serum transferrin, transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin were analysed in 1,452 men and 1,294 men completed a questionnaire on factors, which could influence iron balance. The C282Y allele was present in 5.6%, H63D in 12.8% and S65C in 1.8% of the men. In the entire series, 3% had elevated iron status markers (transferrin saturation ≥50%, ferritin ≥300 μg/L). Self-reported liver disease had an elevating effect and peptic ulcer a lowering effect on iron status markers. Age increased the fraction of men with elevated ferritin from 8.3% at 32-38 years to 16.2% at 46-53 years of age (p = 0.002). Blood donation had a lowering effect on iron status markers (p = 0.0001). Alcohol consumption elevated serum iron and serum ferritin (p = 0.001). Meat consumption had an elevating effect (p = 0.02) and milk consumption a lowering effect (p = 0.03) on serum ferritin. There was no influence of vitamin-mineral tablets on iron status markers. In adjusted logistic regression analysis, the HFE genotype had the highest impact on iron status markers; high alcohol consumption was significantly associated with elevated transferrin saturation. High age and high alcohol consumption were significantly associated with elevated ferritin and high egg consumption and blood donation was significantly associated with normal ferritin levels. In conclusion, the expressivity of HFE variant phenotypes in Danish men was enhanced by alcohol and meat consumption and decreased by milk and egg consumption and blood donation.
KeywordsExpressivity Genotypes Hemochromatosis Mutations Penetrance Scandinavia
The authors express their gratitude to the staff at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at Næstved Hospital for their entusiasm at the performance of this study, especially to Chief Physician Arne Bremmelgaard for devoted support and guidance and to Laboratory Technician Gitte Vedel Melsen for excellent technical assistance.
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