IMR Press / FBL / Volume 25 / Issue 8 / DOI: 10.2741/4869

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.

Role of reactive oxygen species and iron in host defense against infection
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1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
2 Department of Anesthesia, Pain Management and Perioperative Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
Send correspondence to: Juan Zhou, Department of Anesthesia, Pain Management & Perioperative Medicine, Dalhousie University, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building, Room 14A, 5850 College Street, Halifax, NS B3H1X5, Canada, Tel.: 902-494-4359, E-mail:
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2020, 25(8), 1600–1616;
Published: 1 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pro and con iron and ROS in inflammation and infection)

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and iron play important roles in the innate immune response. ROS are released by immune cells and are highly reactive and indiscriminately destructive in response to pathogens. In addition, ROS act as signaling molecules and play a role in apoptosis, therefore excessive ROS production can damage host molecules, leading to more harm than benefit for the host. Iron acts as a catalyst for the formation of ROS, therefore, manipulation of iron levels is a way in controlling ROS production. Iron metabolism and ROS production may affect many disease processes and must be tightly regulated for the host to generate an appropriate response. Current researches examine the roles of iron and ROS in various conditions, including neurodegeneration, inflammation, infection and cancer. Therapies directed at regulating ROS production through regulating iron levels are a major focus in these fields today.

Reactive oxygen species
Figure 1
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