Hyperferritinemia in autoimmunity

Gisele Zandman-Goddard, Yehuda Shoenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Controlling iron/oxygen chemistry in biology depends on multiple genes, regulatory messenger RNA structures, signaling pathways and protein catalysts. Ferritin synthesis is regulated by cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-1a) at various levels (transcriptional, post-transcriptional, translational) during development, cellular differentiation, proliferation and inflammation. The cellular response by cytokines to infection stimulates the expression of ferritin genes. The immunological actions of ferritin include binding to T lymphocytes, suppression of the delayed-type hypersensitivity, suppression of antibody production by B lymphocytes, and decreased phagocytosis of granulocytes. Thyroid hormone, insulin and insulin growth factor-1 are involved in the regulation of ferritin at the mRNA level. Ferritin and iron homeostasis are implicated in the pathogenesis of many disorders, including diseases involved in iron acquisition, transport and storage (primary hemochromatosis) as well as in atherosclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer disease, and restless leg syndrome. Mutations in the ferritin gene cause the hereditary hyperferritinemia-cataract syndrome and neuroferritinopathy. Hyperferritinemia is associated with inflammation, infections and malignancies, and in systemic lupus erythematosus correlates with disease activity. Some evidence points to the importance of hyperferritinemia in dermatomyositis and multiple sclerosis, but further mechanistic investigations are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-84
Number of pages2
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Dermatomyositis
  • Ferritin
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Thyroiditis


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