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Mol Aspects Med. 2005 Aug-Oct;26(4-5):299-312.

Iron, oxidative stress and human health.

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Physical Chemistry-PRALIB, School of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires, 1113 Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The amount of iron within the cell is carefully regulated in order to provide an adequate level of the micronutrient while preventing its accumulation to toxic levels. Iron excess is believed to generate oxidative stress, understood as an increase in the steady state concentration of oxygen radical intermediates. The main aspects of cellular metabolism of iron, with special emphasis on the role of iron with respect to oxidative damage to lipid membranes, are briefly reviewed here. Both in vitro and in vivo models are examined. Finally, a discussion of iron overload and its impact on human health is included. Overall, further studies are required to assess more effective means to limit iron-dependent damage, by minimizing the formation and release of free radicals in tissues when the cellular iron steady state concentration is increased either as a consequence of disease or by therapeutic iron supplementation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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