Standard Article

Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry: Sequestration or Removal in Metal Ion Overload Disorders

  1. Katherine H. Thompson

Published Online: 15 MAR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/0470862106.ia476

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Thompson, K. H. 2011. Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry: Sequestration or Removal in Metal Ion Overload Disorders. Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2011


All metal ions, whether essential or nonessential, are toxic when present in excess. Metabolic disorders in which metal ion overload is a key contributing factor include hemochromatosis, β-thalassemia, Wilson's disease, Menkes syndrome, and Friedreich's ataxia. For some metal ions, overload conditions may come about as a result of excess oral, inhalation, or dermal exposure. In order to correct a metal ion overload condition, an appropriate ligand choice may speed up the elimination or safely sequester the excess metal ion, and may be the treatment of choice. A number of effective chelating agents are discussed, including desferrioxamine, deferiprone, d-penicillamine, and copper– histidine chelate. Marginal overload conditions may lead to marginal deficiency of another metal ion, a result, paradoxically, from single metal ion supplementation. An example would be marginal iron overload, resulting from iron supplement use in excess of need, which leads to marginal manganese deficiency. Such effects are due to metal ion interaction effects in vivo.


  • metal ion overload hemochromatosis;
  • Wilson's disease;
  • Menkes syndrome;
  • Friedreich's ataxia;
  • β-thalassemia;
  • Desferal™;
  • hydroxypyridinone;
  • selenosis;
  • marginal overload