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Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2006 Fall;4(3):196-203. doi: 10.1089/met.2006.4.196.

Increased serum ferritin concentrations and liver enzyme activities in patients with metabolic syndrome.

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Department of 1Internal Medicine, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece.


Emerging scientific evidence suggests that increases in body iron represent a risk factor for the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. The aim of our study was to determine the body iron stores in patients with metabolic syndrome, and to evaluate the potential relationship of iron overload with specific features of the metabolic syndrome, such as fatty liver. A total of 490 individuals were enrolled. The diagnosis of metabolic syndrome was based on National Cholesterol Education Program-Adult Treatment Panel III (ATPIII) criteria. The metabolic syndrome group was consisted of 185 patients having three or more criteria, whereas individuals with less than three criteria constituted the control group. Metabolic syndrome patients displayed higher ferritin concentration as compared to control individuals. Ferritin levels were positively correlated with insulin concentration, as well as with Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA) index values. Multiple regression analysis revealed that ferritin was the most important independent determinant of insulin resistance indices. Patients with metabolic syndrome also exhibited increased concentrations of alanine aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase compared to controls. Multiple regression analysis revealed that ferritin concentration was the most important determinant of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase levels. Patients with the metabolic syndrome exhibit an increase in body iron stores as well as elevated concentrations of liver enzymes compared to the individuals who do not fulfill the criteria for the diagnosis of this syndrome. Our data support a direct role of increased body iron in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, whereas iron overload may also contribute to the development of specific features of the metabolic syndrome, such as fatty liver.


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