Iron metabolism: iron deficiency and iron overload

Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2000:1:75-98. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genom.1.1.75.


Iron is an essential cofactor in a variety of cellular processes. Except for a few unusual bacterial species, iron is indispensable for living organisms. However, free iron is toxic because of its propensity to induce the formation of dangerous free radicals. Consequently, iron balance is tightly regulated. Disorders of iron homeostasis are among the most common afflictions of humans. This review discusses inherited iron deficiency and iron overload disorders and recent insights into their pathophysiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / metabolism
  • Anemia, Sideroblastic / genetics
  • Animals
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron Deficiencies*
  • Iron Metabolism Disorders / genetics
  • Iron Metabolism Disorders / metabolism*
  • Iron Overload / genetics
  • Iron Overload / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Transferrin / metabolism


  • Transferrin
  • Iron