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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Mol. Biosci. | doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2019.00116

The role of iron regulation in immunometabolism and immune-related disease

  • 1Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (OAW), Austria
  • 2FM Kirby Neurobiology Center, Department of Neurology, Boston Children's Hospital, United States
  • 3Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Austria
  • 4Institute of Life Sciences, University of British Columbia, Canada

Immunometabolism explores how the intracellular metabolic pathways in immune cells can regulate their function under different micro-environmental and (patho-)-physiological conditions1–3. In the last decade great advances have been made in studying and manipulating metabolic programs in immune cells. Immunometabolism has primarily focused on glycolysis, the TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) as well as free fatty acid synthesis and oxidation. These pathways are important for providing the energy needs of cell growth, membrane rigidity, cytokine production and proliferation. In this review, we will however, highlight the specific role of iron metabolism at the cellular and organismal level, as well as how the bioavailability of this metal orchestrates complex metabolic programs in immune cell homeostasis and inflammation. We will also discuss how dysregulation of iron metabolism contributes to alterations in the immune system and how these novel insights into iron regulation can be targeted to metabolically manipulate immune cell function under pathophysiological conditions, providing new therapeutic opportunities for autoimmunity and cancer.

Keywords: Iron, Anemia, Infection, Mitochondria, BH4

Received: 28 Jun 2019; Accepted: 14 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Cronin, Woolf, Weiss and Penninger. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Josef M. Penninger, Institute of Life Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, V6T 1Z3, British Columbia, Canada, josef.penninger@ubc.ca