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Ferritin, Transferrin Positively Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

Higher levels tied to higher risk of T2D in men and women; TSAT linked to risk in women

blood cells

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Higher levels of ferritin and transferrin correlate with increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) among men and women, according to a study published online Feb. 9 in Diabetes Care.

Clara Podmore, Ph.D., from the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the prospective association of ferritin, transferrin saturation (TSAT), serum iron, and transferrin with incident T2D in 11,052 cases and 15,182 controls. The authors further assessed whether the correlations differed by subgroups in the population.

The researchers found that after adjustment for age, center, body mass index, physical activity, smoking status, education, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, alanine aminotransferase, and γ-glutamyl transferase, higher levels of ferritin and transferrin correlated with increased T2D risk (hazard ratios in men and women, respectively: 1.07 and 1.12 per 100 µg/L higher ferritin level; 1.11 and 1.22 per 0.5 g/L higher transferrin level). In women, but not men, elevated TSAT correlated with a lower risk of T2D (hazard ratio, 0.68). There was no correlation for serum iron with T2D. Among leaner individuals, the correlation of ferritin with T2D was stronger (Pinteraction < 0.01).

"The pattern of association of TSAT and transferrin with T2D suggests that the underlying relationship between iron stores and T2D is more complex than the simple link suggested by the association of ferritin with T2D," the authors write.

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