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Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 Sep;31(9):1412-9. Epub 2007 Apr 17.

Inflammation and iron deficiency in the hypoferremia of obesity.

Author information

1
Unit on Growth and Obesity, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Obesity is associated with hypoferremia, but it is unclear if this condition is caused by insufficient iron stores or diminished iron availability related to inflammation-induced iron sequestration.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the relationships between obesity, serum iron, measures of iron intake, iron stores and inflammation. We hypothesized that both inflammation-induced sequestration of iron and true iron deficiency were involved in the hypoferremia of obesity.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional analysis of factors anticipated to affect serum iron.

SETTING:

Outpatient clinic visits.

PATIENTS:

Convenience sample of 234 obese and 172 non-obese adults.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Relationships between serum iron, adiposity, and serum transferrin receptor, C-reactive protein, ferritin, and iron intake analyzed by analysis of covariance and multiple linear regression.

RESULTS:

Serum iron was lower (75.8+/-35.2 vs 86.5+/-34.2 g/dl, P=0.002), whereas transferrin receptor (22.6+/-7.1 vs 21.0+/-7.2 nmol/l, P=0.026), C-reactive protein (0.75+/-0.67 vs 0.34+/-0.67 mg/dl, P<0.0001) and ferritin (81.1+/-88.8 vs 57.6+/-88.7 microg/l, P=0.009) were higher in obese than non-obese subjects. Obese subjects had a higher prevalence of iron deficiency defined by serum iron (24.3%, confidence intervals (CI) 19.3-30.2 vs 15.7%, CI 11.0-21.9%, P=0.03) and transferrin receptor (26.9%, CI 21.6-33.0 vs 15.7%, CI 11.0-21.9%, P=0.0078) but not by ferritin (9.8%, CI 6.6-14.4 vs 9.3%, CI 5.7-14.7%, P=0.99). Transferrin receptor, ferritin and C-reactive protein contributed independently as predictors of serum iron.

CONCLUSIONS:

The hypoferremia of obesity appears to be explained both by true iron deficiency and by inflammatory-mediated functional iron deficiency.

PMID:
17438557
PMCID:
PMC2266872
DOI:
10.1038/sj.ijo.0803625
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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