Original article

Vol. 21 No. 6 (2023): Blood Transfusion 6-2023 (November-December)

Next generation sequencing to identify iron status and individualise blood donors’ experience

Authors

Key words: iron deficiency, anaemia, blood donors, genome

Abstract

Background - Young adults form the majority of first-time blood donors to Australian Red Cross Lifeblood. However, these donors pose unique challenges for donor safety. Young blood donors, who are still undergoing neurological and physical development, have been found to have lower iron stores, and have higher risks of iron deficiency anaemia when compared to older adults and non-donors. Identifying young donors with higher iron stores may improve donor health and experience, increase donor retention, and reduce the burden on product donation. In addition, these measures could be used to individualise donation frequency.
Materials and methods - Stored DNA samples from young male donors
(18-25 years; n=47) were sequenced using a custom panel of genes identified in the literature to be associated with iron homeostasis. The custom sequencing panel used in this study identified and reported variants to human genome version 19 (Hg19).
Results - 82 gene variants were analysed. Only one of which, rs8177181, was found to have a statistically significant (p<0.05) association with plasma ferritin level. Heterozygous alleles of this Transferrin gene variant, rs8177181T>A, significantly predicted a positive effect on ferritin levels (p=0.03).
Discussion - This study, identified gene variants involved in iron homeostasis using a custom sequencing panel and analysed their association with ferritin levels in a young male blood donor population. Additional studies of factors associated with iron deficiency in blood donors are required if a goal of personalised blood donation protocols is to be achieved.

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Authors

Georgina Jacko - Clinical Services and Research, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Brisbane, Australia

Aarany Sivakaanthan - Clinical Services and Research, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Brisbane, Australia

Maheshi Obeysekera - Clinical Services and Research, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Brisbane, Australia

Marijke Welvaert - Clinical Services and Research, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Brisbane, Australia

Elvina Viennet - Clinical Services and Research, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Brisbane, Australia; School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Catherine Hyland - Clinical Services and Research, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Brisbane, Australia

John-Paul Tung - Clinical Services and Research, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Brisbane, Australia; Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Alexis J. Perros - Clinical Services and Research, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Brisbane, Australia

Robert L. Flower - Clinical Services and Research, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Brisbane, Australia

Eileen Roulis - Clinical Services and Research, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Brisbane, Australia; Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

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