Iron Metabolism, Cardiovascular Disease and Infection
Approved Research ID: 85834
Approval date: September 8th 2022
Iron is a mineral that helps cells perform many essential functions. Previous research suggests that iron helps support the heart's function. On the other hand, too much iron has been linked with an increased risk of infection. The overall goal of this project is to better understand how the mineral iron affects health. Specifically, we have two aims: 1) study the relationship between iron and heart function and 2) study the relationship between iron and the risk of infection.
We will estimate the amount of iron in the body using two methods: liver iron content and dietary iron intake. Liver iron content can be estimated using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a type of non-invasive imaging method. Dietary iron intake will be estimated using an online dietary questionnaire answered by UK Biobank participants.
We will assess the relationship between the amount of iron in the liver and the amount of dietary iron with the risk of heart failure. We will also assess the relationship between these two measures of iron content and the heart's structure and function (measured using MRI). Last, we will assess the relationship between iron content and the risk of infection.
This project may be important to public health. Iron deficiency affects up to a third of children and women of child-bearing age in the developing world and up to 15% of adults older than 65 years. Treating iron deficiency can be accomplished using iron supplement pills or iron infusions. Studying the relationship between iron content and heart failure may suggest that ensuring adequate iron content is important for heart health. Studying the relationship between iron content and infection risk may identify the potential risks of too much iron intake through the diet or supplements. These data will inform the use of iron treatment for the prevention of heart failure and the potential risk of infection. This overall project will take an estimated 24-36 months.