Iron and multiple sclerosis

Neurobiol Aging. 2014 Sep;35 Suppl 2:S51-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.03.039. Epub 2014 May 15.


Iron is essential for normal cellular functioning of the central nervous system. Abnormalities in iron metabolism may lead to neuronal death and abnormal iron deposition in the brain. Several studies have suggested a link between brain iron deposition in normal aging and chronic neurologic diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). In MS, it is still not clear whether iron deposition is an epiphenomenon or a mediator of disease processes. In this review, the role of iron in the pathophysiology of MS will be summarized. In addition, the importance of conventional and advanced magnetic resonance imaging techniques in the characterization of brain iron deposition in MS will be reviewed. Although there is currently not enough evidence to support clinical use of iron chelation in MS, an overview of studies of iron chelation or antioxidant therapies will be also provided.

Keywords: Antioxidant; Brain; Chelation; Iron; Multiple sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Aging / pathology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron Chelating Agents / therapeutic use
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis / etiology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Antioxidants
  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • Iron