The liver in regulation of iron homeostasis

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2017 Sep 1;313(3):G157-G165. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00004.2017. Epub 2017 Jun 8.


The liver is one of the largest and most functionally diverse organs in the human body. In addition to roles in detoxification of xenobiotics, digestion, synthesis of important plasma proteins, gluconeogenesis, lipid metabolism, and storage, the liver also plays a significant role in iron homeostasis. Apart from being the storage site for excess body iron, it also plays a vital role in regulating the amount of iron released into the blood by enterocytes and macrophages. Since iron is essential for many important physiological and molecular processes, it increases the importance of liver in the proper functioning of the body's metabolism. This hepatic iron-regulatory function can be attributed to the expression of many liver-specific or liver-enriched proteins, all of which play an important role in the regulation of iron homeostasis. This review focuses on these proteins and their known roles in the regulation of body iron metabolism.

Keywords: hepcidin; iron homeostasis; iron metabolism; liver; regulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Enterocytes / physiology
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / physiology


  • Iron