Hyperferritinaemia is a common laboratory finding that is often associated with metabolic dysfunction and fatty liver. Metabolic hyperferritinaemia reflects alterations in iron metabolism that facilitate iron accumulation in the body and is associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic and liver diseases. Genetic variants that modulate iron homeostasis and tissue levels of iron are the main determinants of serum levels of ferritin in individuals with metabolic dysfunction, raising the hypothesis that iron accumulation might be implicated in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and the related organ damage. However, validated criteria for the non-invasive diagnosis of metabolic hyperferritinaemia and the staging of iron overload are still lacking, and there is no clear evidence of a benefit for iron depletion therapy. Here, we provide an overview of the literature on the relationship between hyperferritinaemia and iron accumulation in individuals with metabolic dysfunction, and on the associated clinical outcomes. We propose an updated definition and a provisional staging system for metabolic hyperferritinaemia, which has been agreed on by a multidisciplinary global panel of expert researchers. The goal is to foster studies into the epidemiology, genetics, pathophysiology, clinical relevance and treatment of metabolic hyperferritinaemia, for which we provide suggestions on the main unmet needs, optimal design and clinically relevant outcomes.
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