The effect of iron loading and iron chelation on the innate immune response and subclinical organ injury during human endotoxemia: a randomized trial

Haematologica. 2014 Mar;99(3):579-87. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2013.088047. Epub 2013 Nov 15.


In this double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial involving 30 healthy male volunteers we investigated the acute effects of iron loading (single dose of 1.25 mg/kg iron sucrose) and iron chelation therapy (single dose of 30 mg/kg deferasirox) on iron parameters, oxidative stress, the innate immune response, and subclinical organ injury during experimental human endotoxemia. The administration of iron sucrose induced a profound increase in plasma malondialdehyde 1 h after administration (433±37% of baseline; P<0.0001), but did not potentiate the endotoxemia-induced increase in malondialdehyde, as was seen 3 h after endotoxin administration in the placebo group (P=0.34) and the iron chelation group (P=0.008). Endotoxemia resulted in an initial increase in serum iron levels and transferrin saturation that was accompanied by an increase in labile plasma iron, especially when transferrin saturation reached levels above 90%. Thereafter, serum iron decreased to 51.6±9.7% of baseline at T=8 h in the placebo group versus 84±15% and 60.4±8.9% of baseline at 24 h in the groups treated with iron sucrose and deferasirox, respectively. No significant differences in the endotoxemia-induced cytokine response (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10 and IL-1RA), subclinical vascular injury and kidney injury were observed between groups. However, vascular reactivity to noradrenalin was impaired in the 6 subjects in whom labile plasma iron was elevated during endotoxemia as opposed to those in whom no labile plasma iron was detected (P=0.029). In conclusion, a single dose of iron sucrose does not affect the innate immune response in a model of experimental human endotoxemia, but may impair vascular reactivity when labile plasma iron is formed. ( identifier:01349699).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Adult
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Endotoxemia / complications
  • Endotoxemia / immunology*
  • Endotoxemia / metabolism
  • Endotoxemia / pathology*
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects*
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Iron / administration & dosage*
  • Iron / pharmacokinetics
  • Iron Chelating Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Young Adult


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • Iron