Catalytic iron and acute kidney injury

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2016 Nov 1;311(5):F871-F876. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00388.2016. Epub 2016 Aug 17.


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common and often devastating condition among hospitalized patients and is associated with markedly increased hospital length of stay, mortality, and cost. The pathogenesis of AKI is complex, but animal models support an important role for catalytic iron in causing AKI. Catalytic iron, also known as labile iron, is a transitional pool of non-transferrin-bound iron that is readily available to participate in redox cycling. Initial findings related to catalytic iron and animal models of kidney injury have only recently been extended to human AKI. In this review, we discuss the role of catalytic iron in human AKI, focusing on recent translational studies in humans, assay considerations, and potential therapeutic targets for future interventional studies.

Keywords: AKI; HO-1; ferritin; labile iron; non-transferrin-bound iron.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology*
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Iron*


  • Iron