Jul 05 2010


T. Christodoulides, M. Ioannides, A, Koureas, K. Yiangou, E. Nicolaides

Objective: Free iron catalyzes free radical formation. In vitro studies have suggested that increased body iron stores contribute to atherogenesis progression via LDL oxidization. Epidemiologic studies aiming to link body iron stores and cardiovascular disease yielded conflicting results. We studied a possible association between increased body iron stores and aortic atheromatosis as it is visualized by transesophageal echocardiography.

Methods: Blood samples from 41 patients who underwent a transesophageal echocardiography study were drawn and levels of ferrous, ferritin and total iron binding capacity (TIBC), and transferrin saturation were measured. The patients were divided in two groups according to the detection of atheromatous plaques or not through transesophageal echo.

Results: In patients with aortic atheromatosis (n=31) transferrin saturation was higher compared with patients without aortic atheromatosis (n=10) (24,56% +/- 8,6 vs 17,6% +/- 9,14, p=0,036). Ferritin (93 ng/ml vs 94,1 ng/ml), ferrous (70,48 mg/dl vs 53,33 mg/dl) and TIBC (284,36 mcg/dl vs 281,1 mcg/dl) were not found to differ significantly among the two groups. Regression analysis revealed that age (b=0,242), dyslipidaemia (b=4,416) and transferrin saturarion (b=0,212, p=0,04) were independent predictors of aortic atheromatosis. Difference of transferrin saturation remained significant after adjusting for conflicting factors (p=0,009).

Conclusion: Transferrin saturation is higher in patients with aortic atheromatosis. Thus it is a potential predictor of atheromatosis as well as a possible future therapeutic target for prevention of atheromatosis. Further studies are required to support the above.