Issue 11, 2010

The hazards of iron loading


Excessive or misplaced tissue iron now is recognized to pose a substantial health risk for an extensive array of endocrinological, gastrointestinal, infectious, neoplasmic, neurodegenerative, obstetric, ophthalmic, orthopedic, pulmonary and vascular diseases. Ingested, injected, inhaled and decompartmentalized iron contributes not only to disease, but also to aging and mortality. Iron is dangerous by catalyzing free radical formation and by serving as an essential nutrient for microbial and neoplasmic cell invaders. Our body cells exhibit wide variation in sensitivity to iron toxicity. Efficacy of our iron withholding defense system is modulated by numerous environmental, behavioral and genetic factors. A notable variety of methods for prevention and therapy of iron toxicity are now becoming available.

Graphical abstract: The hazards of iron loading

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Critical Review
29 Jun 2010
06 Sep 2010
First published
24 Sep 2010

Metallomics, 2010,2, 732-740