Iron overload inhibits osteoblast biological activity through oxidative stress

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2013 May;152(2):292-6. doi: 10.1007/s12011-013-9605-z. Epub 2013 Jan 19.


Iron overload has recently been connected with bone mineral density in osteoporosis. However, to date, the effect of iron overload on osteoblasts remains poorly understood. The purpose of this study is to examine osteoblast biological activity under iron overload. The osteoblast cells (hFOB1.19) were cultured in a medium supplemented with different concentrations (50, 100, and 200 μM) of ferric ammonium citrate as a donor of ferric ion. Intracellular iron was measured with a confocal laser scanning microscope. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) were detected by 2,7-dichlorofluorescin diacetate fluorophotometry. Osteoblast biological activities were evaluated by measuring the activity of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and mineralization function. Results indicated that iron overload could consequently increase intracellular iron concentration and intracellular ROS levels in a concentration-dependent manner. Additionally, ALP activity was suppressed, and a decline in the number of mineralized nodules was observed in in vitro cultured osteoblast cells. According to these results, it seems that iron overload probably inhibits osteoblast function through higher oxidative stress following increased intracellular iron concentrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Iron / toxicity*
  • Iron Overload / metabolism*
  • Iron Overload / physiopathology
  • Osteoblasts / drug effects
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Iron