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Eur J Haematol. 2008 Dec;81(6):411-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0609.2008.01143.x. Epub 2008 Sep 13.

Iron homeostasis: new players, newer insights.

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Department of Haematology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.


Although iron is a relatively abundant element in the universe, it is estimated that more than 2 billion people worldwide suffer from iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency results in impaired production of iron-containing proteins, the most prominent of which is hemoglobin. Cellular iron deficiency inhibits cell growth and subsequently leads to cell death. Hemochromatosis, an inherited disorder results in disproportionate absorption of iron and the extra iron builds up in tissues resulting in organ damage. As both iron deficiency and iron overload have adverse effects, cellular and systemic iron homeostasis is critically important. Recent advances in the field of iron metabolism have led to newer understanding of the pathways involved in iron homeostasis and the diseases which arise from alteration in the regulators. Although insight into this complex regulation of the proteins involved in iron homeostasis has been obtained mainly through animal studies, it is most likely that this knowledge can be directly extrapolated to humans.

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