Ferritin and Transferrin Are Both Predictive of the Onset of Hyperglycemia in Men and Women Over 3 Years

The Data from an Epidemiological Study on the Insulin Resistance Syndrome (DESIR) study

  1. Frédéric Fumeron, PHD1,
  2. Franck Péan, MSC1,
  3. Fatti Driss, PHARMD, PHD23,
  4. Beverley Balkau, PHD4,
  5. Jean Tichet, MD5,
  6. Michel Marre, MD, PHD16,
  7. Bernard Grandchamp, MD, PHD23 and
  8. for the DESIR Study Group *
  1. 1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U695, Genetic Determinants for Type 2 Diabetes and its Vascular Complications, Université Paris 7, Xavier Bichat Medical School, Paris, France
  2. 2Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U656, Iron and Heme Synthesis, Genetics, Physiology and Pathology, Université Paris 7, Xavier Bichat Medical School, Paris, France
  3. 3Department of Hormonal and Genetic Biochemistry, Xavier Bichat Hospital, Paris, France
  4. 4Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U780-IFR69, Villejuif, France
  5. 5Inter-Regional Institute for Health, La Riche, France
  6. 6Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Xavier Bichat Hospital, Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology, Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases, Paris, France
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to F. Fumeron, INSERM, U695, Xavier Bichat Medical School, BP 416, 16 rue Henri Huchard, 75870 Paris Cedex 18, France. E-mail: fumeron{at}bichat.inserm.fr

Abstract

OBJECTIVE—The aim of the present work was to determine, in a cohort of men and women, whether ferritin and transferrin were associated with glucose metabolism and whether they were predictive of the onset of hyperglycemia (impaired fasting glycemia or type 2 diabetes) after 3 years of follow-up.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Among 4,501 subjects from the French Data from an Epidemiological Study on the Insulin Resistance Syndrome (DESIR) cohort, 1,277 subjects (644 men and 633 women) were randomly selected for the analysis of iron biomarkers at baseline and at 3 years. In addition, to determine whether these parameters were relevant to pathological changes, all 231 subjects normoglycemic at baseline and hyperglycemic 3 years later were analyzed for iron biomarkers.

RESULTS—At baseline, plasma ferritin concentrations were positively correlated with fasting insulin and fasting glucose in the 1,277 subjects. Although transferrin and ferritin were negatively correlated, transferrin was also positively correlated with fasting insulinemia. Baseline ferritin concentration was an independent predictor of an increase in insulin concentration over a 3-year period (P = 0.002). Further, baseline ferritin and transferrin were independently associated with the onset of hyperglycemia over a 3-year period in the whole population (P < 0.001 for both) and in each sex.

CONCLUSIONS—Although negatively correlated, both transferrin and ferritin were positively associated with the onset of abnormalities in glucose metabolism in a prospective study. These results further support the hypothesis of a causative role of iron metabolism in the onset of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Footnotes

  • *

    * A complete list of the members of the DESIR Study Group can be found in the appendix.

  • A table elsewhere in this issue shows conventional and Système International (SI) units and conversion factors for many substances.

    The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

    • Accepted May 29, 2006.
    • Received January 13, 2006.
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