Iron is an essential trace metal for all life, but excess iron causes oxidative stress through catalyzing the toxic hydroxy-radical production via the Fenton reaction. The number of patients with obesity and diabetes has been increasing worldwide, and their onset and development are affected by diet. In both clinical and experimental studies, a high body iron content was associated with obesity and diabetes, and the reduction of body iron content to an appropriate level can ameliorate the status and development of obesity and diabetes. Macrophages play an essential role in the pathophysiology of obesity and diabetes, and in the metabolism and homeostasis of iron in the body. Recent studies demonstrated that macrophage polarization is related to adipocyte hypertrophy and insulin resistance through their capabilities of iron handling. Control of iron in macrophages is a potential therapeutic strategy for obesity and diabetes.
The Journal of Medical Investigation
Tokushima University Faculty of Medicine
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