Multilevel impacts of iron in the brain

the cross talk between neurophysiological mechanisms, cognition, and social behavior

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Iron is a critical element for most organisms, which plays a fundamental role in the great majority of physiological processes. So much so, that disruption of iron homeostasis has severe multi-organ impacts with the brain being particularly sensitive to such modifications. More specifically, disruption of iron homeostasis in the brain can affect neurophysiological mechanisms, cognition, and social behavior, which eventually contributes to the development of a diverse set of neuro-pathologies. This article starts by exploring the mechanisms of iron action in the brain and follows with a discussion on cognitive and behavioral implications of iron deficiency and overload and how these are framed by the social context. Subsequently, we scrutinize the implications of the disruption of iron homeostasis for the onset and progression of psychosocial disorders. Lastly, we discuss the links between biological, psychological, and social dimensions and outline potential avenues of research. The study of these interactions could ultimately contribute to a broader understanding of how individuals think and act under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019



  • Brain
  • Cognition
  • Iron
  • Neurophysiology
  • Social behavior

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