The development of the concept of ferroptosis

Free Radic Biol Med. 2019 Mar;133:130-143. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2018.09.043. Epub 2018 Sep 28.


The term ferroptosis was coined in 2012 to describe an iron-dependent regulated form of cell death caused by the accumulation of lipid-based reactive oxygen species; this type of cell death was found to have molecular characteristics distinct from other forms of regulated cell death. Features of ferroptosis have been observed periodically over the last several decades, but these molecular features were not recognized as evidence of a distinct form of cell death until recently. Here, we describe the history of observations consistent with the current definition of ferroptosis, as well as the advances that contributed to the emergence of the concept of ferroptosis. We also discuss recent implications and applications of manipulations of the ferroptotic death pathway.

Keywords: Cell death; Chemical biology; Cysteine; Ferroptosis; Iron; Lipid peroxidation; Metabolism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Cell Death / genetics*
  • Ferroptosis / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / genetics
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Iron