Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Endocrinol. 2006 Feb;154(2):333-40.

Association between serum ferritin and the insulin resistance syndrome in a representative population.

Author information

Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Regensburg, 93042 Regensburg, Germany.



Unexplained hepatic iron overload with increased serum ferritin (SF) values has been associated with the insulin resistance syndrome (IRS), defined by the presence of one or more of the following criteria: increased body mass index (BMI), diabetes, hyperlipidemia or hypertension. However, as yet the association between IRS and SF in a representative population has not been investigated.


The study subjects participated in a nationwide epidemiological survey on metabolic disorders in the adult German population. The 1200 probands included in this study are representative of the German population. To eliminate major causes of secondary iron overload, 114 (9.5%) subjects with excessive alcohol consumption and 16 (1.5%) subjects with serological evidence for hepatitis B or C were excluded. For all remaining 1070 probands, complete clinical data of SF, HbA1c, known diabetes, BMI, cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and blood pressure were available.


SF values were significantly increased in men and women with high BMI (> 25 kg/m2), increased cholesterol (> 200 mg/dl), and increased systolic (> 160 mmHg) blood pressure, in women with diabetes, and in men with increased diastolic (> 95 mmHg) blood pressure. Furthermore, there was a significant correlation between the number of IRS criteria and SF.


This study shows a significant correlation between SF and the presence of IRS criteria in a large representative population. Interestingly, the severity of the IRS seems to be associated with increased SF levels suggesting a causal connection. Further studies are required to investigate the pathophysiological mechanism and consequences of increased SF levels in patients with IRS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Sheridan PubFactory
Loading ...
Support Center