Insights into basic science: what basic science can teach us about iron homeostasis in trauma patients

Thomas B. Bartnikas, Andrea U. Steinbicker, Caroline A. Enns

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose of review This review summarizes recent basic science studies on homeostasis of iron, an essential dietary nutrient and potentially toxic metal, and explores the relevance of these studies to our understanding of trauma and related severe, acute events. Recent findings Recent studies in experimental models of iron homeostasis have added to our understanding of how iron levels are regulated in the body and how iron levels and iron-dependent biological processes contribute to trauma and related events. Iron deficiency, a common nutritional disorder, can impair critical organ function and wound and injury repair. Iron excess, typically because of genetic defects, can cause toxicity to tissues and, like iron deficiency, impair wound and injury repair. Finally, pharmacologic inhibition of ferroptosis, a novel form of iron-dependent cell death, is beneficial in animal models of cardiac, hepatic, and intestinal injury and intracerebral hemorrhage, suggesting that ferroptosis inhibitors could serve as novel therapeutic agents for trauma and related events. Summary Perturbations in iron homeostasis can contribute significantly to an individual's predisposition to trauma and their ability to recover posttrauma, whereas pharmacologic targeting of ferroptosis may attenuate severity of trauma-induced organ dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-245
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Anaesthesiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • ferroptosis
  • homeostasis
  • iron
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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