Iron in infection and immunity

Manfred Nairz, Günter Weiss
2020 Molecular Aspects of Medicine  
Iron is an essential micronutrient for virtually all living cells. In infectious diseases, both invading pathogens and mammalian cells including those of the immune system require iron to sustain their function, metabolism and proliferation. On the one hand, microbial iron uptake is linked to the virulence of most human pathogens. On the other hand, the sequestration of iron from bacteria and other microorganisms is an efficient strategy of host defense in line with the principles of
more » ... l immunity'. In an acute infection, host-driven iron withdrawal inhibits the growth of pathogens. Chronic immune activation due to persistent infection, autoimmune disease or malignancy however, sequesters iron not only from infectious agents, autoreactive lymphocytes and neoplastic cells but also from erythroid progenitors. This is one of the key mechanisms which collectively result in the anemia of chronic inflammation. In this review, we highlight the most important interconnections between iron metabolism and immunity, focusing on host defense against relevant infections and on the clinical consequences of anemia of inflammation.
doi:10.1016/j.mam.2020.100864 pmid:32461004 fatcat:ihoc7tvprbf6tkk6mllf3wvcgu