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IUBMB Life. 2017 Jun;69(6):442-450. doi: 10.1002/iub.1635. Epub 2017 May 5.

Iron Metabolism and the Inflammatory Response.

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Chronic Diseases Research Center (CEDOC)/NOVA Medical School, NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal.


Iron (Fe) is essential to almost all organisms, as required by cells to satisfy metabolic needs and accomplish specialized functions. Its ability to exchange electrons between different substrates, however, renders it potentially toxic. Fine tune-mechanisms are necessary to maintain Fe homeostasis and, as such, to prevent its participation into the Fenton reaction and generation of oxidative stress. These are particularly important in the context of inflammation/infection, where restricting Fe availability to invading pathogens is one, if not, the main host defense strategy against microbial growth. The ability of Fe to modulate several aspects of the immune response is associated with a number of "costs" and "benefits", some of which have been described in this review.


immunity; infection; inflammation; iron; iron metabolism

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