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Br J Nutr. 2017 Jun;117(12):1693-1701. doi: 10.1017/S0007114517001696. Epub 2017 Jul 19.

Transferrin saturation concentrations associated with telomeric ageing: a population-based study.

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1Department of Internal Medicine,Korea University Ansan Hospital,Ansan 15355,Republic of Korea.
2Department of Foods and Nutrition,College of Science and Technology,Kookmin University,Seoul 02707,Republic of Korea.


There are limited data on the association between Fe overload and leucocyte telomere length (LTL), known as a useful biomarker of the replicative ageing of cells. The aim of the study was to evaluate associations between Fe-status biomarkers and LTL. A cross-sectional study included 1174 men and women aged 50-79 years who provided blood samples for assays of Fe-status biomarkers including ferritin, transferrin saturation (TSAT), total Fe-binding capacity (TIBC) and relative LTL. They were free of hepatitis, potential infection or Fe deficiency. In multiple linear regression analysis adjusted for potential confounding variables, log-transformed LTL was positively associated with TIBC (adjusted coefficient estimate for its highest quartile: 0·17 (se 0·03), P45 %) but also with high-normal concentrations (35-45 %) of TSAT had shorter LTL compared with those with low-normal concentrations (<30 %) (P<0·05). We also observed that less-active or obese persons with high TSAT concentrations had shorter LTL than others. Our findings that cellular ageing is influenced not only by Fe overload but also by high-normal concentrations of TSAT support the hypothesis regarding the detrimental effects of labile Fe, which has a potent pro-oxidant activity in the body.


ALT aspartate transaminase; AST alanine transaminase; BP blood pressure; LTL leucocyte telomere length; MET metabolic equivalent; ROS reactive oxygen species; TIBC total Fe-binding capacity; TSAT transferrin saturation; hs-CRP high-sensitivity C-reactive protein; General populations; Iron overload; Iron status; Telomere length; Transferrin saturation

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