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intracellular iron

Monday 18 February 2008

A disruption in optimal iron levels within different brain regions has been demonstrated in several neurodegenerative disorders.

Although iron is an essential element that is required for many processes in the human body, an excess can lead to the generation of free radicals that can damage cells. Iron levels are therefore stringently regulated within cells by a host of regulatory proteins that keep iron levels in check.

The iron regulatory proteins (IRPs) have the ability to sense and control the level of intracellular iron by binding to iron responsive elements (IREs) of several genes encoding key proteins such as the transferrin receptor (TfR) and ferritin.

Concurrently, the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) has also been shown in previous studies to regulate intracellular iron by binding to HIF-responsive elements (HREs) that are located within the genes of iron-related proteins such as TfR and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1).


- Lee DW, Andersen JK. Role of HIF-1 in iron regulation: potential therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative disorders. Curr Mol Med. 2006 Dec;6(8):883-93. PMID: 17168739