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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Radial artery wall alterations in genetic hemochromatosis before and after iron depletion therapy.

Iron overload is believed to have an adverse influence on the cardiovascular system and animal studies have shown that iron may be involved in the events that lead to atherosclerosis via an enhancement of smooth muscle cell proliferation, lipid oxidation, and free radical production. There are no data on the effect of iron overload on arterial structural and mechanical properties in humans. We measured wall thickness and distensibility (D) by ultrasonography of the radial artery in 12 patients with uncomplicated genetic hemochromatosis (GH) who were normotensive and without atherosclerotic plaques. Twelve age- and sex-matched patients were taken as controls. Nine patients were evaluated also after iron depletion. Wall thickness was greater in patients with GH than in controls (+50%, P <.01) whereas D was slightly reduced in the former group compared with the latter group, though the difference was not statistically significant. After iron depletion, a significant reduction of wall thickness and a significant increase in D were observed (-24% and +33%, P <.05 for both). Thus, in patients with hemochromatosis, arterial wall thickness is increased before the onset of cardiovascular complications. This alteration is reverted by iron depletion, which also can improve the initial and modest radial artery wall stiffening associated with this condition. Thus, functional and structural alterations in midsize muscle arteries may be an early abnormality of hemochromatosis.[1]


  1. Radial artery wall alterations in genetic hemochromatosis before and after iron depletion therapy. Failla, M., Giannattasio, C., Piperno, A., Vergani, A., Grappiolo, A., Gentile, G., Meles, E., Mancia, G. Hepatology (2000) [Pubmed]
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