Archivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis

, Volume 58, Issue 6, pp 407–415 | Cite as

Iron and Immunity: Immunological Consequences of Iron Deficiency and Overload

  • Bobby J. CherayilEmail author


The influence of iron on immune function has been long appreciated. However, the molecular basis for this interaction is less well understood. Recently, there have been several important advances that have shed light on the mechanisms that regulate mammalian iron metabolism. The new insights provide a conceptual framework for understanding and manipulating the cross-talk between iron homeostasis and the immune system. This article will review what is currently known about how disturbances of iron metabolism can affect immunity and how activation of the immune system can lead to alterations in iron balance.


Iron Metabolism Macrophage Inflammation Lymphocyte 



Bone morphogenetic protein




Hypoxia-inducible factor








Inducible nitric oxide synthase


Iron response element


IRE-binding protein


Janus kinase 2




Natural resistance-associated macrophage protein


Red blood cell


Transferrin receptor


Toll-like receptor


Tumor necrosis factor


Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3



Work in the author’s laboratory is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R56 AI089700), the Broad Medical Research Program (IBD-0253) and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.


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Copyright information

© L. Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Wroclaw, Poland 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsMucosal Immunology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolCharlestown, BostonUSA

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