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An Overview of Iron Metabolism: Molecular and Cellular Criteria for the Selection of Iron Chelators

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Iron is a metal of capital importance in most living organisms. However, man differs from the rest of mammals by his incapacity to excrete significant amounts of iron. This means that both iron deficiency and iron overload are frequently encountered. We briefly review our current understanding of dietary iron absorption and then discuss iron transport and delivery to cells. The intracellular storage and utilisation of iron are then considered, with a particular emphasis on the transit iron pool. Cellular iron homeostasis appears principally to be regulated at the level of translation of key mRNA's involved in iron uptake, storage and utilisation, through iron regulatory proteins. The potential sites of iron chelation at the molecular level and cellular models which may be useful in the selection of potentially useful therapeutic iron chelators are briefly reviewed.

Keywords: cellular iron homeostasis; dietary iron absorption; iron chelators; iron metabolism; iron pool

Document Type: Review Article


Publication date: June 1, 2003

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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