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Intern Emerg Med. 2010 Oct;5(5):393-400. doi: 10.1007/s11739-010-0387-4. Epub 2010 Apr 28.

Recent advances in iron metabolism and related disorders.

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  • 1Universit√† Vita-Salute e IRCCS San Raffaele, Via Olgettina 60, Milan, Italy.


Iron is essential for life, because it is indispensable for several biological reactions such as oxygen transport, DNA synthesis and cell proliferation, but is toxic if present in excess since it causes cellular damage through free radical formation. Either cellular or systemic iron regulation can be disrupted in disorders of iron metabolism. In the past few years, our understanding of iron metabolism and its regulation has dramatically changed. New disorders of iron metabolism have emerged and the role of iron has started to be recognized as a cofactor of other disorders. The study of genetic conditions such as hemochromatosis and iron-refractory-iron-deficiency anemia (IRIDA) has provided crucial insights into the molecular mechanisms controlling iron homeostasis. In the future, these advances may be exploited for a more effective treatment of both genetic and acquired iron disorders.

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