Association of hemochromatosis with infectious diseases: expanding spectrum

Int J Infect Dis. 2007 Nov;11(6):482-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2007.04.007. Epub 2007 Jun 27.


Withholding iron from potential pathogens is a host defense strategy. There is evidence that iron overload per se compromises the ability of phagocytes to kill microorganisms. Several hypotheses exist to explain the association of hemochromatosis with infection. A combination of mechanisms likely contributes to the increase in susceptibility to infection in these patients. A review of the current literature delineating various pathogens to which patients with hemochromatosis are potentially susceptible, and recent advances in the understanding of the association of hemochromatosis with infection, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Communicable Diseases / complications*
  • Communicable Diseases / drug therapy
  • Communicable Diseases / microbiology
  • Hemochromatosis / complications*
  • Hemochromatosis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iron


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Iron