Are you a male, aged 35 years old or over, interested in participating in a research study at the Nepean Hospital in Western Sydney or Katoomba Hospital, Blue Mountains?

Do you have haemochromatosis?

Or iron deficiency?

Or normal iron stores?

The research team are seeking men aged 35 years or over to participate in a study to look at Fibroblast Growth Factor 23, a blood marker of bone metabolism and its association with body iron stores.

Participating in the study involves:

1. Giving a single fasting blood sample
2. Providing a single fasting urine specimen
3. Having a check of bone density and body composition by an X-ray technique called DEXA
4. Having a check of your weight

Participating will involve 1- 2 visits for a total of up to 2 hours.

The bone density test is only available at Nepean Hospital (Tuesday mornings, in Nepean Clinical School Outpatient on Derby Street, opposite the Nepean Hospital). Usually people have the bone density done on Tuesday mornings and have blood tests taken at the same time across the road in the hospital. Some people may find it more convenient to have bloods done (needs fasting bloods) in Katoomba and come to Nepean to have bone density test only done.

If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact:

Associate Professor Emily Hibbert
Tel : (02) 4734 3294 or

All calls will be treated with the strictest confidence.

This research study has been approved by the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Human Research Ethics Committee.

Logo Nepean Blue Mountains health District.


Haemochromatosis Australia is pleased to assist Prof Hibbert and her team recruit participants for this study.

Logo Haemochromatosis Australia


What is Fibroblast Grwoth Factor 23?

Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF-23) is a protein produced by bone cells. It causes phosphate to be excreted in urine, reduces phosphate absorption from the gut and causes reduced mineralization of bone. Through these mechanisms high FGF23 levels can lead to rickets. Rickets is a disease where bones are soft and weak and can bend and break easily.

In this study we will measure levels of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) and other markers of bone metabolism in men with the iron overload condition of haemochromatosis and compare the levels of these markers with levels in age-matched men with iron deficiency and in age-matched men with normal iron status.

It has been shown that some patients with iron deficiency have high FGF-23 levels and may develop rickets. The mechanism for this is unclear and it is unknown what happens to FGF- 23 levels in iron overload states, such as occurs in haemochromatosis.  Patients with haemochromatosis can develop low bone density or osteoporosis, which carries an increased risk of breaking bones. If FGF-23 levels are found to be abnormal in haemochromatosis and iron deficient men in general, it may help in elucidating the mechanisms for low bone density in haemochromatosis and in understanding further the role of iron in determining FGF-23 levels.