Effect of iron overload on glucose metabolism in patients with hereditary hemochromatosis

Metabolic Research Unit, St James's Hospital, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
Metabolism: clinical and experimental (Impact Factor: 3.89). 10/2009; 59(3):380-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.metabol.2009.08.006
Source: PubMed


Diabetes mellitus (DM) affects 30% to 60% of patients with hereditary hemochromatosis (HH). The underlying pathophysiology of DM in patients with hemochromatosis has not been fully elucidated. We studied both insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity in a cohort of patients with HH. We studied glucose metabolism in 53 newly diagnosed HH patients using a standard 75-g oral glucose tolerance test. Basal and stimulated insulin sensitivities were calculated using the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index and oral glucose insulin sensitivity index, respectively. beta-Cell function was assessed using C-peptide concentrations during the oral glucose tolerance test after adjusting for ambient insulin sensitivity. Twenty healthy subjects served as the control group. Fifteen subjects (28%) with HH had abnormal glucose tolerance (AGT). Seven (13%) had DM, and 8 (15%) had impaired glucose tolerance. As well as higher fasting glucose and glycated hemoglobin, those with AGT had a higher fasting insulin and C-peptide levels compared with those with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) (all Ps < .05). Insulin sensitivity measurements showed that the subjects in HH group with AGT were more insulin resistant than the subjects with NGT and controls subjects (P < .05). No significant changes were observed between the groups with NGT and AGT regarding hepatic insulin extraction and both indices related to insulin release in subjects with HH. Our cohort of patients with hemochromatosis and AGT had features similar to typical type 2 DM patients. These findings challenge the traditional view that DM in hemochromatosis is due primarily to iron-induced beta-cell failure.

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    • "It has been shown that elevated iron stores are associated with increased oxidative stress and insulin resistance, which can be induced by high-fat feeding [25–27]. Iron overload is often associated with decreased insulin sensitivity [28, 29]. In the study of Wapnir and Devas [30], rats fed a 45% fat diet had increased hepatic Fe content. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although maternal, fetal, and placental mechanisms compensate for disturbances in the fetal environment, any nutritional inadequacies present during pregnancy may affect fetal metabolism, and their consequences may appear in later life. The aim of the present study is to investigate the influence of maternal diet during gestation on Fe, Zn, and Cu levels in the livers and kidneys of adult rats. The study was carried out on the offspring (n = 48) of mothers fed either a protein-balanced or a protein-restricted diet (18% vs. 9% casein) during pregnancy, with or without folic acid supplementation (0.005- vs. 0.002-g folic acid/kg diet). At 10 weeks of age, the offspring of each maternal group were randomly assigned to groups fed either the AIN-93G diet or a high-fat diet for 6 weeks, until the end of the experiment. The levels of Fe, Zn, and Cu in the livers and kidneys were determined by the F-AAS method. It was found that postnatal exposure to the high-fat diet was associated with increased hepatic Fe levels (p < 0.001), and with decreased liver Zn and Cu contents (p < 0.01 and p < 0.05, respectively), as well as with decreased renal Cu contents (p < 0.001). Moreover, the offspring's tissue mineral levels were also affected by protein and folic acid content in the maternal diet. Both prenatal protein restriction and folic acid supplementation increased the liver Zn content (p < 0.05) and the kidney Zn content (p < 0.001; p < 0.05, respectively), while folic acid supplementation resulted in a reduction in renal Cu level (p < 0.05). Summarizing, the results of this study show that maternal dietary folic acid and protein intake during pregnancy, as well as the type of postweaning diet, affect Fe, Zn, and Cu levels in the offspring of the rat. However, the mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon are unclear, and warrant further investigation.
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    ABSTRACT: Excess tissue iron levels are a risk factor for diabetes, but the mechanisms underlying the association are incompletely understood. We previously published that mice and humans with a form of hereditary iron overload, hemochromatosis, exhibit loss of β-cell mass. This effect by itself is not sufficient, however, to fully explain the diabetes risk phenotype associated with all forms of iron overload. We therefore examined glucose and fatty acid metabolism and hepatic glucose production in vivo and in vitro in a mouse model of hemochromatosis in which the gene most often mutated in the human disease, HFE, has been deleted (Hfe⁻(/)⁻). Although Hfe⁻(/)⁻ mice exhibit increased glucose uptake in skeletal muscle, glucose oxidation is decreased and the ratio of fatty acid to glucose oxidation is increased. On a high-fat diet, the Hfe⁻(/)⁻ mice exhibit increased fatty acid oxidation and are hypermetabolic. The decreased glucose oxidation in skeletal muscle is due to decreased pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) enzyme activity related, in turn, to increased expression of PDH kinase 4 (pdk4). Increased substrate recycling to liver contributes to elevated hepatic glucose production in the Hfe⁻(/)⁻ mice. Increased hepatic glucose production and metabolic inflexibility, both of which are characteristics of type 2 diabetes, may contribute to the risk of diabetes with excessive tissue iron.
    Diabetes 09/2010; 60(1):80-7. DOI:10.2337/db10-0593 · 8.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Iron overload (IO) is defined as an increase in storage iron, regardless of the presence or absence of tissue damage. Whether increased iron stores are involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease remains controversial.  To study insulin resistance markers, lipoprotein profile, activities of anti and prooxidant enzymes and cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) in patients with IO. Twenty male patients with IO were compared with 20 sex- and age-matched controls. General biochemical parameters, lipoprotein profile, and activities of paraoxonase 1, employing two substrates, paraoxon (PON) and phenylacetate (ARE), lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A(2) (Lp-PLA(2) ) and CETP were determined. IO patients showed higher levels of HOMA-IR and triglycerides [median (Q1-Q3)] [128 (93-193) vs. 79(51-91) mg dL(-1) , P < 0·0005] while lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (mean ± SD) (41 ± 9 vs. 52 ± 10 mg dL(-1) , P < 0·0005) in comparison with controls. Moreover, the triglycerides/HDL-cholesterol [3·2 (2·0-5·1) vs. 1·5 (1·0-1·9), P < 0·0005] ratio and oxidized low-density lipoprotein levels [94 (64-103) vs. 68 (59-70) IU L(-1) , P < 0·05] were increased in the patient group. Although no difference was observed in ARE activity, PON activity was decreased in IO patients [246 (127-410) vs. 428 (263-516) nmol mL(-1) min(-1) , P < 0·05]. In addition, CETP and Lp-PLA(2) activities were also increased in the patients (189 ± 31 vs. 155 ± 36% ml(-1)  h(-1) , P < 0·005; and 10·1 ± 2·9 vs. 8·2 ± 2·4 μmol mL(-1) h(-1) , P < 0·05, respectively). Associations between ferritin concentration and the alterations in lipid metabolism were also found. Multiple regression analyses identified HOMA-IR as independent predictor of CETP activity (B = 65·9, P < 0·0001, r(2) = 0·35), as well as ferritin concentration of Lp-PLA(2) activity (B = 3·7, P < 0·0001, r(2) = 0·40) after adjusting for confounding variables.   IO patients presented not only insulin resistance but also metabolic alterations that were related to elevated iron stores and are associated with high risk of cardiovascular disease.
    European Journal of Clinical Investigation 12/2010; 41(5):479-86. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2362.2010.02429.x · 2.73 Impact Factor
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