Brain iron metabolism: neurobiology and neurochemistry

Prog Neurobiol. 2007 Oct;83(3):149-73. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2007.07.009. Epub 2007 Aug 7.


New findings obtained during the past years, especially the discovery of mutations in the genes associated with brain iron metabolism, have provided key insights into the homeostatic mechanisms of brain iron metabolism and the pathological mechanisms responsible for neurodegenerative diseases. The accumulated evidence demonstrates that misregulation in brain iron metabolism is one of the initial causes for neuronal death in some neurodegenerative disorders. The errors in brain iron metabolism found in these disorders have a multifactorial pathogenesis, including genetic and nongenetic factors. The disturbances of iron metabolism might occur at multiple levels, including iron uptake and release, storage, intracellular metabolism and regulation. It is the increased brain iron that triggers a cascade of deleterious events, leading to neuronal death in these diseases. In the article, the recent advances in studies on neurochemistry and neuropathophysiology of brain iron metabolism were reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Neurobiology*
  • Neurochemistry*


  • Iron