Regulation of mammalian iron metabolism: current state and need for further knowledge

Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 1997;34(6):529-72. doi: 10.3109/10408369709006425.


Due to its character as an essential element for all forms of life, the biochemistry and physiology of iron has attracted very intensive interest for many decades. In more recent years, the ways that iron metabolism is regulated in mammalian and human organisms have been clarified, and many aspects of iron metabolism have been reviewed. In this article, some newer aspects concerning absorption and intracellular regulation of iron concentration are considered. These include a sorting of possible models for intestinal iron absorption, a description of ways for membrane passage of iron after release from transferrin during receptor-mediated endocytosis, a consideration of possible mechanisms for non-transferrin bound iron uptake and its regulation, and a review of recent knowledge on the properties of iron regulatory proteins and on regulation of iron metabolism by these proteins, changes of their own properties by non-iron-mediated influences, and regulatory events not mediated by these proteins. This somewhat heterogeneous collection of themes is a consequence of the intention to avoid repetition of the many aforementioned reviews already existing and to concentrate on newer findings generated within the last couple of years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron-Regulatory Proteins
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / physiology
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Transferrin / metabolism


  • Iron-Regulatory Proteins
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transferrin
  • Iron