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Diabetes Care. 2007 Jul;30(7):1795-801. Epub 2007 Apr 6.

Ferritin and transferrin are associated with metabolic syndrome abnormalities and their change over time in a general population: Data from an Epidemiological Study on the Insulin Resistance Syndrome (DESIR).

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unité 780-IFR69, Epidemiological and Biostatistical Research, Villejuif, France.



The aim of this work was to study cross-sectional and longitudinal relations between iron stocks (ferritin) and the iron transport protein (transferrin) with the metabolic syndrome and its abnormalities.


A total of 469 men and 278 premenopausal and 197 postmenopausal women from the French Data from an Epidemiological Study on the Insulin Resistance Syndrome (DESIR) cohort, aged 30-65 years, were followed over 6 years.


Higher concentrations of both ferritin and transferrin were associated with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults Adult Treatment Panel III original and revised definitions of the metabolic syndrome at baseline: for the IDF definition of the metabolic syndrome, the standardized, age-adjusted odds ratios (95% CI) for log(ferritin) were 1.49 (1.14-1.94) for men, 2.10 (1.27-3.48) for premenopausal women, and 1.80 (1.21-2.68) for postmenopausal women; for transferrin they were, respectively, 1.94 (1.53-2.47), 2.22 (1.32-3.75), and 2.14 (1.47-3.10). After 6 years of follow-up, the change in the presence of the metabolic syndrome was associated with higher baseline values in all three groups: log(ferritin), 1.46 (1.13-1.89), 1.28 (0.85-1.94), and 1.62 (1.10-2.38); and transferrin, 1.41 (1.10-1.81), 1.63 (1.05-2.52), and 1.51 (1.02-2.22). Among syndrome components, hypertriglyceridemia at 6 years was the component most strongly associated with baseline ferritin and transferrin. The odds of an incident IDF-defined metabolic syndrome after 6 years was more than fourfold higher when ferritin and transferrin values were both above the group-specific top tertile, in comparison with participants with both parameters below these thresholds.


This is the first prospective study associating ferritin and transferrin with the metabolic syndrome and its components. When both markers of the iron metabolism are elevated, the incidence of the metabolic syndrome is increased in men and both pre- and postmenopausal women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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