Aim: The aim of our cross-sectional study was to assess the relationships between body iron stores, oxidative stress, impaired insulin sensitivity and carotid atherosclerosis in a cohort of healthy men in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Methods: We examined 151 volunteers, aged 35– 60 years. Anthropometric parameters, markers of metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, inflammatory markers, parameters of oxidative stress and intima-media thickness of common carotid artery were measured. Results: Ferritin correlated positively with waist circumference, body mass index, impaired insulin sensitivity, plasma triglycerides and inversely with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. We observed positive correlations between ferritin, oxidized lowdensity lipoprotein and advanced oxidation protein products after adjustment for age, waist circumference, body mass index and measured inflammatory markers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α). There were no significant associations between ferritin and intima-media thickness or markers of endothelial dysfunction. In a stepwise multiple regression analysis, triglycerides, waist circumference and elevated transaminases were independent determinants of the serum ferritin level. Conclusion: Our results provide evidence for a relationship between plasma ferritin and oxidative modification of lipids as well as proteins in vivo. Higher body iron stores may contribute to impaired insulin sensitivity through increased oxidative stress in a cohort of healthy men.
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