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Atherosclerosis. 1997 Feb 10;128(2):235-40.

Relationship of serum ferritin concentrations with metabolic cardiovascular risk factors in men without evidence for coronary artery disease.

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Department of Rehabilitation, Prevention and Sports Medicine, Freiburg University Hospital, Germany. mh@msm1.ukl.uni-freiburg,de


Elevated serum ferritin concentrations between 200 and 500 microg/l have been found to be a strong risk factor for acute myocardial infarction in Finnish men, but the reason for this association is still uncertain. In the Finnish population ferritin concentrations correlated with factors of insulin resistance syndrome. As these factors have been found to be associated with an LDL subfraction phenotype of increased concentrations of small, dense LDL particles, we hypothesized an association between ferritin and an atherogenic LDL subfraction profile, a finding which could be an explanation for the observed relationship between ferritin and atherosclerosis. Therefore we determined serum ferritin levels, metabolic cardiovascular risk factors, and the LDL subfraction phenotype in 93 healthy men without signs for infection or coronary heart disease. We found that men with moderately elevated ferritin levels (200-500 microg/l; n = 31) had a significantly worse coronary risk profile than men with lower levels ( < 200 microg/l; n = 62). Elevated ferritin concentrations were associated with significantly higher values for serum triglycerides, VLDL cholesterol, VLDL apolipoprotein B (P < 0.01), IDL cholesterol, fasting glucose (P < 0.05) and uric acid (P < 0.01), and lower levels for HDL2b and HDL2a cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-I (P < 0.05), and lipoprotein(a) (P < 0.01). Elevated ferritin levels were, however, not associated with an unfavourable LDL subfraction profile of increased concentrations of small, dense LDL particles.

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