IMR Press / FBL / Volume 25 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.2741/4827

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Iron should be restricted in acute infection
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1 Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
2 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
3 Department of Anesthesia, Pain Management and Perioperative Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
4 Department of Pharmacology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
5 Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
Send correspondence to: Dr. Christian Lehmann, Dept. of Anesthesia, Pain Management & Perioperative Medicine, Dalhousie University, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building, Room 6H-1, 5850 College Street, Halifax, NS B3H1X5, Canada, Tel.: 902-494-1287, E-mail:
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2020, 25(4), 673–682;
Published: 1 January 2020

The trace element iron plays important roles in biological systems. Vital functions of both host organisms and pathogens require iron. During infection, the innate immune system reduces iron availability for invading organisms. Pathogens acquire iron through different mechanisms, primarily through the secretion of high-affinity iron chelating compounds known as siderophores. Bacterial siderophores have been used clinically for iron chelation, however synthetic iron chelators are superior for treating infection because - in contrast to siderophore-bound iron - bacteria are not able to utilize iron bound to those molecules. Additionally, utilizing siderophores-dependent iron uptake in a “trojan horse” manner represents a potential option to carry antibiotics into bacterial cells. Recently, synthetic iron chelators have been shown to enhance antibiotic effectiveness and overcome antibiotic resistance. This has implications for the treatment of infections through combination therapy of iron chelators and antibiotics.

Acute Infection
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