Serum ferritin levels and polycystic ovary syndrome in obese and nonobese women

Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Aug;54(4):403-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tjog.2014.06.005.


Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate serum ferritin levels and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)-related complications in obese and nonobese women.

Materials and methods: This retrospective study included 539 (286 with PCOS and 253 without PCOS).

Results: Serum ferritin correlated with menstrual cycle length, sex hormone-binding globulin, total testosterone, androstenedione, triglyceride, and total cholesterol in both obese and nonobese women. Obese women with high ferritin levels exhibited higher insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, and liver enzymes (glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase, glutamic pyruvic transaminase) than obese women with low ferritin levels. However, among nonobese women, insulin resistance and risk of diabetes were not significantly different between the high and low ferritin groups. Independent of obesity, hypertriglyceridemia was the major metabolic disturbance observed in women with elevated serum ferritin levels.

Conclusion: Elevated serum ferritin levels are associated with increased insulin resistance and risk of diabetes in obese women but not in nonobese women. However, higher serum ferritin levels were correlated with a greater risk of hyperglyceridemia in both obese and nonobese women. Therefore, hypertriglyceridemia in women with PCOS might be associated with iron metabolism.

Keywords: ferritin; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; obesity; polycystic ovary syndrome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Prognosis
  • Reference Values
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Ferritins