New Lessons in the Iron Metabolism and Its Disorders

Authors: L. Pácal;  K. Kaňková
Authors‘ workplace: Ústav patologické fyziologie LF MU, Brno
Published in: Čas. Lék. čes. 2004; : 9-14


Iron is an essential element to all living organisms. It is a component of many proteins with important functions inphysiological processes such as oxygen transport, respiration, DNA synthesis, cell cycle regulation and many others.Free iron is highly reactive and its excess can lead to tissue and organ damage. Intestinal absorption of iron is preciselyregulated because there is no excretory mechanismfor excessive iron. Improvedmethodology led to the identificationof many genes and proteins involved in the iron metabolism and to the understanding of basic processes of ironintake, transport and storage. However, some aspects remain still unclear – primarily the regulation of iron intakeaccording to the body’s requirements. Disorders of iron metabolism, both the deficiency and the overload belong torelatively common diseases. Growing understanding of the physiology of the iron metabolism is rapidly reflectedin diagnostics, preventive screening and therapy of the iron disorders.

Key words:
iron, hemochromatosis, transferin, ferritin, hepcidin, sideropenia, haptoglobin, hemoxygenase, hemopexin,anemia.

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