Hepcidin is a useful biomarker to evaluate hyperferritinemia associated with metabolic syndrome

An Acad Bras Cienc. 2019 May 13;91(2):e20180286. doi: 10.1590/0001-3765201920180286.


Investigation of hyperferritinemia in metabolic syndrome patients represents a diagnostic challenge, but it is essential for the identification of individuals with iron overload. Hepcidin negatively regulates iron absorption and release. An increase in hepcidin occurs when iron levels are sufficient or in inflammatory states, conditions often associated with hyperferritinemia. Hemochromatosis causes hyperferritinemia due to iron overload, but frequently has low hepcidin levels. Our aim was to evaluate biochemical and molecular parameters related to iron metabolism in patients with metabolic syndrome. We evaluated 94 patients with metabolic syndrome according to the International Diabetes Federation criteria in a cross-sectional study. Anthropometric data and diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome, iron dosage, ferritin, transferrin saturation, hepcidin, and the C282Y and H63D mutations in the HFE hemochromatosis gene were evaluated. Prevalence of hyperferritinemia in the study population was 27.7% and was higher in males (46.2%) than in females (14.5%). Increase in transferrin saturation correlated with mutations in the hemochromatosis gene. Hyperferritinemia was associated to transferrin saturation and hepcidin after logistic regression analysis. In conclusion, hyperferritinemia is a frequent finding in metabolic syndrome patients, most frequently in men; and hepcidin assessment can be useful for the investigation of ferritin increase in those subjects.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Ferritins / metabolism*
  • Hepcidins / blood
  • Hepcidins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood
  • Iron Overload / blood
  • Iron Overload / diagnosis*
  • Iron Overload / etiology*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Sex Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Hepcidins
  • Ferritins
  • Iron