Oligodendrocytes and myelination: The role of iron

Authors

  • Bozho Todorich,

    1. Department of Neurosurgery, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Juana M. Pasquini,

    1. Departmento de Química Biológica e Instituto de Química y Fisicoquímica Biologicas, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Conicet, Buenos Aires
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Corina I. Garcia,

    1. Departmento de Química Biológica e Instituto de Química y Fisicoquímica Biologicas, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Conicet, Buenos Aires
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Pablo M. Paez,

    1. Departmento de Química Biológica e Instituto de Química y Fisicoquímica Biologicas, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Conicet, Buenos Aires
    Search for more papers by this author
  • James R. Connor

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurosurgery, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania
    • University Distinguished Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Neurosurgery (H110), Director, G.M. Leader Family Alzheimer's Disease Laboratory, Penn State College of Medicine, M.S. Hershey Medical Center, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033-0850, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Iron is an essential trophic factor that is required for oxygen consumption and ATP production. Thus it plays a key role in vital cell functions. Although the brain has a relatively high rate of oxygen consumption compared to other organs, oligodendrocytes are the principal cells in the CNS that stain for iron under normal conditions. The importance of iron in myelin production has been demonstrated by studies showing that decreased availability of iron in the diet is associated with hypomyelination. The timing of iron delivery to oligodendrocytes during development is also important because hypomyelination and the associated neurological sequelae persist long after the systemic iron deficiency has been corrected. Therefore, identifying the molecular roles of iron in oligodendrocyte development and myelin production, and the mechanisms and timing of iron acquisitions are important prerequisites to developing effective therapies for dysmyelinating disorders. It is the purpose of this review to give a comprehensive overview of the existing literature on role of iron in oligodendrocytes and the mechanisms of iron acquisition and intracellular handling. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ancillary