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Leuk Lymphoma. 1995 Aug;18(5-6):429-33.

A role for ferritin in hematopoiesis and the immune system.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Shimane Medical University, Japan.


Elevated serum ferritin levels have been reported in a number of pathological states. These observations indicate that cells of the immune system can participate in the prevention of potential tissue toxicity from iron accumulation, and iron and iron-binding protein have important effects on immune systems. Ferritin is generally regarded as an intracellular iron storage protein. However, small amounts of ferritin circulate in the serum of normal individuals, and the physiological role of serum ferritin remains obscure. Although the function of ferritin is inevitably linked to iron metabolism, a role for ferritin in hematopoiesis and the immune system has drawn attention for years. Ferritin has an inhibitory effect on the in vitro growth of human hematopoietic progenitor cells and on the proliferation of T lymphocytes in vitro. Recently we report that ferritin may directly suppress the differentiation of human B lymphocytes maturing into antibody producing cells in vitro. In the present review, we summarise this field of research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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