Chan, B. W. B. (1969).Brit. J. industr. Med.,26, 65-70. Serum iron and iron kinetics in coalworkers with complicated pneumoconiosis. Twenty-three patients with complicated pneumoconiosis were studied, and compared with 16 patients of similar age with chronic non-specific lung disease. In seropositive cases (Rose Waaler titre higher than 1: 32) the serum iron, total iron binding capacity (T.I.B.C.), and the serum iron/T.I.B.C.% were all significantly decreased. In seronegative cases only the T.I.B.C. was significantly decreased.
Low serum iron levels were found to be associated with a high iron clearance rate, so that the total iron transport rate was normal or slightly increased. The proportion of circulating plasma iron utilized for effective red cell production was found to be normal.
These findings are, in general, similar to those in rheumatoid arthritis and suggest that iron mobilization or transport may be defective but that erythropoiesis is not depressed.
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