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Issue 5, 2014
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Diagnostic morphology: biophysical indicators for iron-driven inflammatory diseases

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Abstract

Most non-communicable diseases involve inflammatory changes in one or more vascular systems, and there is considerable evidence that unliganded iron plays major roles in this. Most studies concentrate on biochemical changes, but there are important biophysical correlates. Here we summarize recent microscopy-based observations to the effect that iron can have major effects on erythrocyte morphology, on erythrocyte deformability and on both fibrinogen polymerization and the consequent structure of the fibrin clots formed, each of which contributes significantly and negatively to such diseases. We highlight in particular type 2 diabetes mellitus, ischemic thrombotic stroke, systemic lupus erythematosus, hereditary hemochromatosis and Alzheimer's disease, while recognizing that many other diseases have co-morbidities (and similar causes). Inflammatory biomarkers such as ferritin and fibrinogen are themselves inflammatory, creating a positive feedback that exacerbates disease progression. The biophysical correlates we describe may provide novel, inexpensive and useful biomarkers of the therapeutic benefits of successful treatments.

Graphical abstract: Diagnostic morphology: biophysical indicators for iron-driven inflammatory diseases

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Publication details

The article was received on 05 Feb 2014, accepted on 16 Mar 2014 and first published on 08 Apr 2014


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4IB00025K
Citation: Integr. Biol., 2014,6, 486-510
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Diagnostic morphology: biophysical indicators for iron-driven inflammatory diseases

    E. Pretorius and D. B. Kell, Integr. Biol., 2014, 6, 486
    DOI: 10.1039/C4IB00025K

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