Serum Ferritin Relates to Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Offspring of Fathers With Higher Serum Ferritin Levels
Objective—Body iron status has been linked to atherosclerosis in adults. The purposes of our study were to determine (1) the association between circulating ferritin levels and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in a cohort of apparently healthy children and (2) the association between cIMT and parental ferritin levels.
Approach and Results—Circulating ferritin levels (microparticle enzyme immunoassay), metabolic parameters, and cIMT (ultrasonography) were analyzed cross-sectionally in a cohort of 692 healthy white children with a mean age of 8±2 years (52% girls and 48% boys). In consecutive 123 children from the cross-sectional sample, the same serum assessments were also performed at baseline in their parents, and the cIMT was repeated after 3 years of follow-up in the children at a mean age of 11±2 years (53% girls and 47% boys). Weak but significant positive associations were evident between children’s circulating ferritin levels and cIMT (r=0.123; P=0.001) and with the change in cIMT 3 years later a tendency was also observed (r=0.185; P=0.048). In multiple regression analyses, circulating ferritin levels contributed independently to cIMT variance (β=0.090; P=0.026; R2=10%) and cIMT change variance (β=0.216; P=0.019; R2= 3.4%) after controlling for body mass index, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, age, sex, and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels. This association was, however, remarkably significant (β=0.509; P=0.001; R2= 20.4%) in children whose fathers had ferritin levels above the median value (122.5 ng/mL).The latter association remained significant after correction for multiple testing. Maternal’s ferritin levels showed no interaction in this association.
Conclusions—These results suggest a paternal-specific effect on cIMT partially reflected by father’s ferritin levels.
- Received June 22, 2015.
- Accepted November 9, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.