Iron status is associated with tibial structure and vitamin D metabolites in healthy young men

Thomas J. O’Leary, Sarah Jackson, Rachel M. Izard, Neil P. Walsh, Alexander Carswell, Samuel J. Oliver, Jonathan C. Y. Tang, William D. Fraser, Julie Greeves (Lead Author)

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The influence of iron on collagen synthesis and vitamin D metabolism has implications for bone health. This cross-sectional observational study investigated associations between markers of iron status and tibial structure, vitamin D metabolites, and circulating biochemical markers of bone metabolism in young healthy men. A total of 343 male British Army recruits participated (age 22 ± 3 y, height 1.77 ± 0.06 m, body mass 75.5 ± 10.1 kg). Circulating biochemical markers of iron status, vitamin D metabolites, and bone metabolism, and tibial structure and density by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography scans (HRpQCT) were measured in participants during week 1 of basic military training. Associations between markers of iron status and HRpQCT outcomes, bone metabolism, and vitamin D metabolites were tested, controlling for age, height, lean body mass, and childhood exercise volume. Higher ferritin was associated with higher total, trabecular, and cortical volumetric bone mineral density, trabecular volume, cortical area and thickness, stiffness, and failure load (all p ≤ 0.037). Higher soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) was associated with lower trabecular number, and higher trabecular thickness and separation, cortical thickness, and cortical pore diameter (all p ≤ 0.033). Higher haemoglobin was associated with higher cortical thickness (p = 0.043). Higher ferritin was associated with lower βCTX, PINP, total 25(OH)D, and total 24,25(OH)2D, and higher 1,25(OH)2D:24,25(OH)2D ratio (all p ≤ 0.029). Higher sTfR was associated with higher PINP, total 25(OH)D, and total 24,25(OH)2D (all p ≤ 0.025). The greater density, size, and strength of the tibia, and lower circulating concentrations of markers of bone resorption and formation with better iron stores (higher ferritin) are likely as a result of the direct role of iron in collagen synthesis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117145
Early online date3 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jun 2024

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