Background: Although the association with serum ferritin (SF) and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) has been demonstrated by various studies, SF levels in those studies were mostly in the normal reference range. High SF levels were usually found in the patients who suffered from hematological system diseases and hereditary hemochromatosis. Our data (unpublished) had shown SF levels in Tibetan population had increased, and this study focused on the male Tibetan patients with T2DM to explore the association between SF and IMT.

Methods: This cross-sectional study involved 718 male Tibetan patients with T2DM. BMI, SBP and duration were collected. SF, HbA1c and blood lipid profiles were measured in clinical laboratory in our hospital. IMT was performed by carotid artery ultrasonography examination. Patients were categorized into four groups based on the level of SF. Multivariate regression was used to examine the association of SF and IMT.

Results: Patients in the fourth quintile were more likely to present higher baseline of BMI, TC, HbA1c and IMT. After adjustment for age, duration and BMI, comparing with the first quintile, the β, 95% CI and p-value of the second, third as well as fourth quintile of serum ferritin were 0.029 (-0.001, 0.059) (p = 0.056), 0.046 (0.017, 0.076) (p = 0.002) and 0.053 (0.023, 0.083) (p <0.001), respectively. After further adjustment for HbA1c, TC and SBP, the β, 95% CI and p-value of the second, third as well as fourth quintile of SF were 0.025 (-0.005, 0.055) (p = 0.102), 0.040 (0.010, 0.071) (p = 0.008) and 0.045 (0.015, 0.076) (p = 0.004), respectively.

Conclusion: SF was independently associated with IMT in male patients with T2DM from Tibetan plateau, the cutoff of serum ferritin in this study would help us to find an appropriate value to intervene the hyperferritinemia.


Z. Chenghui: None. W. Suyuan: None. W. Yunhong: None.

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