Wiener klinische Wochenschrift

, Volume 118, Issue 15–16, pp 442–462 | Cite as

Molecular and clinical aspects of iron homeostasis: from anemia to hemochromatosis

Review Article


The discovery in recent years of a plethora of new genes whose products are implicated in iron homeostasis has led to rapid expansion of our knowledge in the field of iron metabolism and its underlying complex regulation in both health and disease. Abnormalities of iron metabolism are among the most common disorders encountered in practical medicine and may have significant negative impact on physical condition and life expectancy. Basic insights into the principles of iron homeostasis and the pathophysiological and clinical consequences of iron overload, iron deficiency and misdistribution are thus of crucial importance in modern medicine. This review summarizes our current understanding of human iron metabolism and focuses on the clinically relevant features of hereditary and secondary hemochromatosis, iron deficiency anemia, anemia of chronic disease and anemia of critical illness. The interconnections between iron metabolism and immunity are also addressed, in as much as they may affect the risk and course of infections and malignancies.


Hemochromatosis Secondary iron overload Anemia of chronic disease Anemia of critical illness Iron deficiency 

Molekulare und klinische Aspekte des Eisenstoffwechsels. Von der Anämie bis zur Hämochromatose


Die Entdeckung zahlreicher neuer Gene, deren Produkte am Eisenstoffwechsel und an dessen komplexer Regulation beteiligt sind, hat unser Wissen in diesem Bereich in den letzten Jahren rasch zunehmen lassen. Störungen der Eisenhomöostase gehören zu den häufigsten pathologischen Veränderungen im klinischen Alltag und können sich auf den Gesundheitszustand und auf die Lebenserwartung eines Patienten negativ auswirken. Daher ist ein fundiertes Wissen über den Eisenstoffwechsel sowie über die pathophysiologischen und klinischen Aspekte von Eisenüberladung, -mangel und -fehlverteilung von großer medizinischer Bedeutung. Diese Arbeit fasst den gegenwärtigen Wissensstand im Bereich des Eisenstoffwechsels zusammen, wobei der Schwerpunkt auf klinisch relevanten Fakten von hereditärer Hämochromatose, sekundärer Eisenüberladung, Eisenmangelanämie, Anämie der chronischen Erkrankung und Anämie der kritischen Erkrankung liegt. Darüber hinaus werden die Berührungspunkte von Eisenstoffwechsel und Immunsystem dargestellt, soweit sie den Zusammenhang zwischen Eisenstatus und Risiko für Infektionen und Malignome betreffen.


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© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Klinische Abteilung für Allgemeine Innere Medizin, Klinische Infektiologie und ImmunologieMedizinische Universität InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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