Iron in the brain

Nutr Rev. 1993 Jun;51(6):157-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.1993.tb03096.x.


The location and function of iron in the central nervous system are reviewed with particular emphasis on human biology. Iron is distributed to different cell types in the brain in a heterogeneous fashion through the action of transferrin, transferrin receptors, and the metabolic needs of those cells. The function of this iron and its storage is documented in states of growth and development as well as during pathological states associated with aging. The information relating this biology to current observations of attention deficits in iron-deficient humans is also reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ferritins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Iron / physiology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Transferrin / physiology
  • Transferrin / physiology


  • Receptors, Transferrin
  • Transferrin
  • Ferritins
  • Iron