Nimisha Dhankar1, Richa Gupta2, Shramana Mandal1
1Department of Pathology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India.
2Department of Pathology, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India.
Background: The impact of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) on innate immunity is well documented, but the data on its effect on cells of the adaptive immune system are scant. The aim of this study was to assess peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets in children with IDA using flow cytometry. Materials and Methods: The total and differential lymphocyte populations of 80 iron-deficient children and 40 controls were assessed using a single-tube flow cytometry panel. Results: Children in the IDA group showed a significant decrease in total leukocyte count as compared to controls (P = 0.03). The study also found a significant increase in total lymphocytes and CD19 + B cells (P = 0.042 and 0.040, respectively). CD3, CD4, CD8, and NK cells were unaltered. Conclusion: The study concluded that iron deficiency in children is associated with relative lymphocytosis contributed mainly by the B lymphocytes. There is no quantitative defect in cells of the adaptive limb of the immune system in IDA. In view of the increased incidence of infections in these children, functional assays for identifying qualitative defects may prove useful.
Keywords: CD4, CD8, children, iron deficiency anemia, lymphocyte subsets.