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Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2020 Jan 1;25:893-911.

The role of iron in viral infections.

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Department of Anesthesia, Pain Management and Perioperative Medicine, Dalhousie University, 5850 College Street, Halifax, NS, B3H 1X5, Canada,


Crucial cellular processes such as DNA synthesis and the generation of ATP require iron. Viruses depend on iron in order to efficiently replicate within living host cells. Some viruses selectively infect iron - acquiring cells or influence the cellular iron metabolism via Human hemochromatosis protein (HFE) or hepcidin. During infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) iron overload is associated with poor prognosis for the patient and enhanced progression of the disease. Recent findings still lack to fully describe the viral interaction with the host iron metabolism during infection. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the viral regulation on the host cell iron metabolism in order to discuss the therapeutic option of iron chelation as a potential and beneficial adjuvant in antiviral therapy.


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