Abstract BACKGROUND: Elevated body iron stores have been suggested to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). We examined whether elevated plasma ferritin concentrations as an indicator of iron stores would affect the oxidative stress markers in women of reproductive age. METHODS: One hundred sixty, women, aged20-45 years, were selected randomly. Samples had no proven heart disease. Demographic data were gathered using check lists and face-to-face interviews. We investigated body iron stores by measuring the concentrations of plasma ferritin. Furthermore, we assessed oxidative stress markers by measuring the concentrations of plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) and activities of erythrocyte cytoprotective enzymes. RESULTS: Subjects in the highest tertile of plasma ferritin presented the highest levels of plasma MDA (p<0.05). Those in the highest tertile of plasma ferritin had also the highest mean values of CAT activity (p<0.05). Furthermore, Subjects in the highest tertile of plasma ferritin presented the lowest levels of CuZn-SOD activity (p<0.05). Those in the highest tertile of plasma ferritin had also the lowest GPX activity but differences were not statistically significant. Plasma ferritin was significantly directly associated with plasma MDA levels and inversely associated with CuZn-SOD activity. Plasma ferritin levels was positively correlated with MDA levels and inversely correlated with CuZn-SOD activity. No associations were found between the tertile of plasma ferritin in GPX activity. CONCLUSION: Our findings revealed an association between body iron stores and oxidative stress markers linked to atherosclerosis process. The results are also in agreement with the concept that iron overload would elevate the risk of coronary artery disease by promoting the lipid peroxidation. Keywords: iron stores, ferritin, oxidative stress, atherosclerosis, women.