Iron, glucose and fat metabolism and obesity: an intertwined relationship

Catriona Hilton*, Rugivan Sabaratnam, Hal Drakesmith, Fredrik Karpe

*Corresponding author for this work

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A bidirectional relationship exists between adipose tissue metabolism and iron regulation. Total body fat, fat distribution and exercise influence iron status and components of the iron-regulatory pathway, including hepcidin and erythroferrone. Conversely, whole body and tissue iron stores associate with fat mass and distribution and glucose and lipid metabolism in adipose tissue, liver, and muscle. Manipulation of the iron-regulatory proteins erythroferrone and erythropoietin affects glucose and lipid metabolism. Several lines of evidence suggest that iron accumulation and metabolism may play a role in the development of metabolic diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidaemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In this review we summarise the current understanding of the relationship between iron homoeostasis and metabolic disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)554-563
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/metabolism
  • Glucose/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iron/metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism/physiology
  • Liver/metabolism
  • Obesity/metabolism


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