Summary: Iron-containing proteins that are widely distributed in animals, plants, and microorganisms. Their major function is to store IRON in a nontoxic bioavailable form. Each ferritin molecule consists of ferric iron in a hollow protein shell (APOFERRITINS) made of 24 subunits of various sequences depending on the species and tissue types.

Top Publications

  1. Sastre J, Sastre B, Fernández Nieto M, Pérez Camo I, Sanchez J, del Pozo V. Serum ferritin and transferrin levels are not serologic markers of toluene diisocyanate-induced occupational asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010;125:762-4 pubmed publisher
  2. Mahindra A, Sobecks R, Rybicki L, Pohlman B, Dean R, Andresen S, et al. Elevated pretransplant serum ferritin is associated with inferior survival following nonmyeloablative allogeneic transplantation. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2009;44:767-8 pubmed publisher
  3. Das B, Thurnham D, Das D. Influence of malaria on markers of iron status in children: implications for interpreting iron status in malaria-endemic communities. Br J Nutr. 1997;78:751-60 pubmed
    ..Finally, in both symptomatic and asymptomatic malaria, indices of Fe status can be misleading and may be especially problematic in community studies in malaria-endemic areas where asymptomatic malaria may be common. ..
  4. Feelders R, Vreugdenhil G, Eggermont A, Kuiper Kramer P, van Eijk H, Swaak A. Regulation of iron metabolism in the acute-phase response: interferon gamma and tumour necrosis factor alpha induce hypoferraemia, ferritin production and a decrease in circulating transferrin receptors in cancer patients. Eur J Clin Invest. 1998;28:520-7 pubmed
    ..The fall in sTfR levels may reflect an impaired erythroid growth and/or TfR expression mediated by TNF and IFN-gamma. ..
  5. Winter W, Bazydlo L, Harris N. The molecular biology of human iron metabolism. Lab Med. 2014;45:92-102 pubmed
    ..Each ferritin molecule can contain as many as approximately 4500 ferric ions. Because the major role of iron is in hemoglobin synthesis, this review will focus on iron, iron transport, and hematopoiesis. ..
  6. Taher A, El Rassi F, Isma eel H, Koussa S, Inati A, Cappellini M. Correlation of liver iron concentration determined by R2 magnetic resonance imaging with serum ferritin in patients with thalassemia intermedia. Haematologica. 2008;93:1584-6 pubmed publisher
  7. Connor J. Iron acquisition and expression of iron regulatory proteins in the developing brain: manipulation by ethanol exposure, iron deprivation and cellular dysfunction. Dev Neurosci. 1994;16:233-47 pubmed
    ..From these studies we conclude oligodendrocytes may be responsible for iron regulation in the brain at the cellular level and that brain iron regulatory mechanisms are vulnerable to manipulation during postnatal development. ..
  8. Liang Y, Bajoria R, Jiang Y, Su H, Pan H, Xia N, et al. Prevalence of diabetes mellitus in Chinese children with thalassaemia major. Trop Med Int Health. 2017;22:716-724 pubmed publisher
    ..4; 95% CI 0.23-0.8; P < 0.05). Our data suggest that IFG occurred in 30% of ? TM children, perhaps due to insulin resistance secondary to iron overload. Deferiprone-containing chelating agent may have a protective effect. ..
  9. Hyder S, Haseen F, Rahman M, Tondeur M, Zlotkin S. Effect of daily versus once-weekly home fortification with micronutrient Sprinkles on hemoglobin and iron status among young children in rural Bangladesh. Food Nutr Bull. 2007;28:156-64 pubmed
    ..01), with no significant differences between the groups. Home fortification of complementary foods with Sprinkles given either daily or once weekly improved iron-deficiency anemia and iron status among young children. ..

More Information


  1. Monnard A, Moretti D, Zeder C, Steingötter A, Zimmermann M. The effect of lipids, a lipid-rich ready-to-use therapeutic food, or a phytase on iron absorption from maize-based meals fortified with micronutrient powders. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017;105:1521-1527 pubmed publisher
    ..Our results suggest the possibility of an enhancing effect on iron absorption of lipid-rich RUTFs, but more research is needed to determine this. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01991626. ..
  2. Knight E, James H, Edwards C, Spurlock B, Oyemade U, Johnson A, et al. Relationships of serum illicit drug concentrations during pregnancy to maternal nutritional status. J Nutr. 1994;124:973S-980S pubmed publisher
    ..05). The level of maternal cocaine during the third trimester was inversely correlated with birthweight (r = -0.29; n = 52; P = 0.038) and head circumference (r = -0.28; n = 52; P = 0.047).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS) ..
  3. Bah A, Pasricha S, Jallow M, Sise E, Wegmüller R, Armitage A, et al. Serum Hepcidin Concentrations Decline during Pregnancy and May Identify Iron Deficiency: Analysis of a Longitudinal Pregnancy Cohort in The Gambia. J Nutr. 2017;147:1131-1137 pubmed publisher
    ..Hemoglobin does not effectively identify iron deficiency in pregnancy. This trial was registered at www.isrctn.com as ISRCTN49285450. ..
  4. Pechlaner R, Kiechl S, Mayr M, Santer P, Weger S, Haschka D, et al. Correlates of serum hepcidin levels and its association with cardiovascular disease in an elderly general population. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2016;54:151-61 pubmed publisher
  5. Aloni M, Le P, Heijmans C, Huybrechts S, Devalck C, Azzi N, et al. A pilot study of manual chronic partial exchange transfusion in children with sickle disease. Hematology. 2015;20:284-8 pubmed publisher
    ..However, there is no consensual study for the period at which chronic transfusion can safely be stopped and further research in large population of patients with SCD will need to clarify this question. ..
  6. Ambroszkiewicz J, Klemarczyk W, Mazur J, Gajewska J, Rowicka G, Strucińska M, et al. Serum Hepcidin and Soluble Transferrin Receptor in the Assessment of Iron Metabolism in Children on a Vegetarian Diet. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2017;180:182-190 pubmed publisher
  7. Connor J, Menzies S, St Martin S, Mufson E. Cellular distribution of transferrin, ferritin, and iron in normal and aged human brains. J Neurosci Res. 1990;27:595-611 pubmed
    ..These results suggest glial cells may have previously undescribed functions related to metal regulation and sequestration. ..
  8. Jakszyn P, Fonseca Nunes A, Lujan Barroso L, Aranda N, Tous M, Arija V, et al. Hepcidin levels and gastric cancer risk in the EPIC-EurGast study. Int J Cancer. 2017;141:945-951 pubmed publisher
    ..Further investigation including repeated measures of hepcidin is needed to clarify their role in gastric carcinogenesis. ..
  9. Kaneva K, Chow E, Rosenfield C, Kelly M. Intravenous Iron Sucrose for Children With Iron Deficiency Anemia. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2017;39:e259-e262 pubmed publisher
    ..The use of IV iron sucrose in pediatric patients with IDA is safe and leads to a moderate increase in hemoglobin and substantial improvement in iron studies. ..
  10. Kadoglou N, Biddulph J, Rafnsson S, Trivella M, Nihoyannopoulos P, Demakakos P. The association of ferritin with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in community-dwellers: The English longitudinal study of ageing. PLoS ONE. 2017;12:e0178994 pubmed publisher
    ..High ferritin levels in men with no major chronic diseases were also independently associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality. Future research is needed to clarify the prognostic role of ferritin. ..
  11. Mishra S, Sim D, Flanagan P. Haemochromatosis: evaluating the effectiveness of a novel patient self-management approach to venesection as blood donation. N Z Med J. 2017;130:26-33 pubmed
    ..Longer follow up is required to assess the overall pattern of ferritin control in patients who self manage their haemochromatosis by regular blood donation. ..
  12. Davalos A, Fernandez Real J, Ricart W, Soler S, Molins A, Planas E, et al. Iron-related damage in acute ischemic stroke. Stroke. 1994;25:1543-6 pubmed
    ..More research is needed to determine the origin of increased serum ferritin levels and the therapeutic implications. ..
  13. Skikne B, Flowers C, Cook J. Serum transferrin receptor: a quantitative measure of tissue iron deficiency. Blood. 1990;75:1870-6 pubmed
  14. Lee S, Lee S, Chung W. Severe inflammation may be caused by hyperferritinemia of pseudo-pseudo Meigs' syndrome in lupus patients: two cases reports and a literature review. Clin Rheumatol. 2013;32:1823-6 pubmed
    ..However, its correlation with lupus activity remains unclear. Therefore, a review of the literature regarding pseudo-pseudo Meigs' syndrome associated with lupus and high ferritin level in this disease was carried out. ..
  15. Cho H, Sheu S, Kuo K, Ally M, Bailey E, Kim J, et al. Limited Role of Random Skin Biopsy in the Diagnosis of Intravascular Lymphoma in Adult Patients with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis. Acta Haematol. 2017;138:33-38 pubmed publisher
    ..A review of the literature emphasizes the role of a full body skin exam with a selective skin biopsy in these patients. ..
  16. Lewis G, Malhotra R, Hernandez A, McNulty S, Smith A, Felker G, et al. Effect of Oral Iron Repletion on Exercise Capacity in Patients With Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction and Iron Deficiency: The IRONOUT HF Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2017;317:1958-1966 pubmed publisher
    ..However, the efficacy of inexpensive readily available oral iron supplementation in heart failure is unknown...
  17. Browning R, Alakeson N, O Loughlin E. Efficacy and safety of ultra rapid iron polymaltose infusion during general anaesthesia. Anaesth Intensive Care. 2017;45:320-325 pubmed
    ..Iron polymaltose administered in this way appears efficacious in treating iron deficiency. ..
  18. Jiang X, Elliott R. Decreased Iron in Cancer Cells and Their Microenvironment Improves Cytolysis of Breast Cancer Cells by Natural Killer Cells. Anticancer Res. 2017;37:2297-2305 pubmed
    ..Conversely, a decrease in iron concentration caused by DFOM improves natural killer cytolysis of tumor cells. ..
  19. Hilken A, Langebrake C, Wolschke C, Kersten J, Rohde H, Nielsen P, et al. Impact of non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) in comparison to serum ferritin on outcome after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (ASCT). Ann Hematol. 2017;96:1379-1388 pubmed publisher
    ..09). Baseline SF did not influence BSI, but higher levels resulted in more IFI (HR 1.26, p < 0.001). In conclusion, NTBI possibly better predict for a higher risk of bloodstream infections than SF and needs further investigation. ..
  20. Olcay L, Serteser M, Kolay M, Balci H, Yildirim Ü, Tekgündüz S, et al. The Impact of Iron Overload in Acute Leukemia: Chronic Inflammation, But Not the Presence of Nontransferrin Bound Iron is a Determinant of Oxidative Stress. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2017;39:425-439 pubmed publisher
    ..In conclusion, NTBI is a poor predictor of OSD in acute leukemia possibly because of the heterogeneity of NTBI and chronic inflammation. Further studies are needed to delineate the pathophysiology of these diseases. ..
  21. Karabulut A, Guler O, Karahan H, Ozkan S, Koyuncu H, Demirciler I. Premarital screening of 466 Mediterranean women for serum ferritin, vitamin B12, and folate concentrations. Turk J Med Sci. 2015;45:358-63 pubmed
    ..5% vs. 16.9%; P = 0.019). Vitamin B12 and iron are the main micronutrients depleted in our community. This necessitates implementing a public health program for women consuming a Mediterranean diet. ..
  22. Sherriff A, Emond A, Hawkins N, Golding J. Haemoglobin and ferritin concentrations in children aged 12 and 18 months. ALSPAC Children in Focus Study Team. Arch Dis Child. 1999;80:153-7 pubmed
    ..Because children below the fifth centile at one time point differ from those six months later, it is unclear whether screening would be effective. ..
  23. Chasteen N, Harrison P. Mineralization in ferritin: an efficient means of iron storage. J Struct Biol. 1999;126:182-94 pubmed
    b>Ferritins are a class of iron storage and mineralization proteins found throughout the animal, plant, and microbial kingdoms...
  24. Taubert R, Hardtke Wolenski M, Noyan F, Lalanne C, Jonigk D, Schlue J, et al. Hyperferritinemia and hypergammaglobulinemia predict the treatment response to standard therapy in autoimmune hepatitis. PLoS ONE. 2017;12:e0179074 pubmed publisher
  25. Goralska M, Fleisher L, McGahan M. Vitreous Humor Changes Expression of Iron-Handling Proteins in Lens Epithelial Cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017;58:1187-1195 pubmed publisher
    ..Vitreous humor may play a significant protective role against iron-catalyzed oxidative damage of lens epithelial cells and therefore in the formation of cataracts. ..
  26. Philpott C, Ryu M, Frey A, Patel S. Cytosolic iron chaperones: Proteins delivering iron cofactors in the cytosol of mammalian cells. J Biol Chem. 2017;292:12764-12771 pubmed publisher
    ..The monothiol glutaredoxin Glrx3 and BolA2 function as a [2Fe-2S] chaperone complex. These proteins form a core system of cytosolic iron cofactor chaperones in mammalian cells. ..
  27. Punnonen K, Irjala K, Rajamäki A. Serum transferrin receptor and its ratio to serum ferritin in the diagnosis of iron deficiency. Blood. 1997;89:1052-7 pubmed
    ..00). In anemic patients, TfR measurement is a valuable noninvasive tool for the diagnosis of iron depletion, and offers an attractive alternative to more conventional laboratory tests in the detection of depleted iron stores. ..
  28. Abdullah K, Birken C, Maguire J, Fehlings D, Hanley A, Thorpe K, et al. Re-Evaluation of Serum Ferritin Cut-Off Values for the Diagnosis of Iron Deficiency in Children Aged 12-36 Months. J Pediatr. 2017;188:287-290 pubmed publisher
    ..We identified 2 potential clinically relevant serum ferritin cut-off values through their association with clinically important cut-off of hemoglobin as the indicator of anemia. ..
  29. Okam M, Koch T, Tran M. Iron Supplementation, Response in Iron-Deficiency Anemia: Analysis of Five Trials. Am J Med. 2017;130:991.e1-991.e8 pubmed publisher
    ..Iron-replacement therapy improved quality of life and reduced fatigue. Hemoglobin responses <1.0 g/dL at day 14 of oral iron identify subjects with iron-deficiency anemia who should be transitioned to IV iron supplementation. ..
  30. Barffour M, Schulze K, Coles C, Chileshe J, Kalungwana N, Arguello M, et al. High Iron Stores in the Low Malaria Season Increase Malaria Risk in the High Transmission Season in a Prospective Cohort of Rural Zambian Children. J Nutr. 2017;147:1531-1536 pubmed publisher
    ..Our findings underscore the need to integrate iron interventions with malaria control programs. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01695148. ..
  31. Mirza B, Hadberg H, Thomsen P, Moos T. The absence of reactive astrocytosis is indicative of a unique inflammatory process in Parkinson's disease. Neuroscience. 2000;95:425-32 pubmed
    ..The absence of reactive astrocytosis in Parkinson's disease contrasts what follows in virtually any other neurological disorder and may indicate that the inflammatory process in Parkinson's disease is a unique phenomenon. ..
  32. Seong J, Yoon Y, Lee K, Bae N, Gi M, YOON H. Gender difference in relationship between serum ferritin and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in Korean adults. PLoS ONE. 2017;12:e0177722 pubmed publisher
  33. Ehteram H, Bavarsad M, Mokhtari M, Saki N, Soleimani M, Parizadeh S, et al. Prooxidant-antioxidant balance and hs-CRP in patients with beta-thalassemia major. Clin Lab. 2014;60:207-15 pubmed
  34. Pantopoulos K, Hentze M. Rapid responses to oxidative stress mediated by iron regulatory protein. EMBO J. 1995;14:2917-24 pubmed
    ..Thus okadaic acid separates the activation pathways by iron depletion and oxidative stress, suggesting the involvement of stress-induced kinase/phosphatase pathways in the latter. ..
  35. Schaffner A, Rodewald R. Filtration barriers in the coelomic sac of the crayfish, Procambarus clarkii. J Ultrastruct Res. 1978;65:36-47 pubmed
  36. Vanclooster A, van Deursen C, Jaspers R, Cassiman D, Koek G. Proton Pump Inhibitors Decrease Phlebotomy Need in HFE Hemochromatosis: Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Gastroenterology. 2017;153:678-680.e2 pubmed publisher
    ..PPI treatment significantly reduces the need for phlebotomies in p.C282Y homozygous patients. In view of the known long-term safety profile of PPI, they can be a valuable addition to standard therapy. Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT01524757. ..
  37. Gill D, Del Greco M F, Walker A, Srai S, Laffan M, Minelli C. The Effect of Iron Status on Risk of Coronary Artery Disease: A Mendelian Randomization Study-Brief Report. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2017;37:1788-1792 pubmed publisher
    ..08 per SD unit increase; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.16; P=0.034). This Mendelian randomization study supports the hypothesis that higher iron status reduces CAD risk. These findings may highlight a therapeutic target. ..
  38. Ding H, Zhang D, Chu S, Zhou J, Su X. Screening and structural and functional investigation of a novel ferritin from Phascolosoma esculenta. Protein Sci. 2017;26:2039-2050 pubmed publisher
    b>Ferritins are primary iron storage proteins and play a crucial role in iron storage and detoxification. Yeast two-hybrid method was employed to screen the cDNA library of Phascolosoma esculenta...
  39. Shi Z, Zhen S, Zhou Y, Taylor A. Hb level, iron intake and mortality in Chinese adults: a 10-year follow-up study. Br J Nutr. 2017;117:572-581 pubmed publisher
    ..Both low and high Hb levels are related to increased risk of all-cause mortality. Both low and high intake of Fe as percentage of RNI was positively associated with mortality in women. ..
  40. Ma S, Dielschneider R, Henson E, Xiao W, Choquette T, Blankstein A, et al. Ferroptosis and autophagy induced cell death occur independently after siramesine and lapatinib treatment in breast cancer cells. PLoS ONE. 2017;12:e0182921 pubmed publisher
    ..This indicates that ferroptosis and autophagy induced cell death occur independently but both are mediated by iron dependent ROS generation in breast cancer cells. ..
  41. Egbuche O, Millard H, Renelus B, Maihemuti A, Musani S, Fox E, et al. Serum Ferritin Levels in Blacks Without Known Cardiovascular Disease (from the Jackson Heart Study). Am J Cardiol. 2017;120:1533-1540 pubmed publisher
    ..01) in women but not in men. In conclusion, a higher serum ferritin level was not associated with an increased risk of incident CHD events or incident stroke, and may not be an independent predictor of incident CHD or stroke in blacks. ..
  42. Meneses F, Schnabel B, Silva I, Alberto F, Toma L, Nader H, et al. Identification of the mutations associated with hereditary hyperferritinemia cataract syndrome and hemochromatosis in a Brazilian family. Clin Genet. 2011;79:189-92 pubmed publisher
  43. Pulsipher K, Villegas J, Roose B, Hicks T, Yoon J, Saven J, et al. Thermophilic Ferritin 24mer Assembly and Nanoparticle Encapsulation Modulated by Interdimer Electrostatic Repulsion. Biochemistry. 2017;56:3596-3606 pubmed publisher
    ..This work illustrates designed protein cages with distinct assembly and encapsulation properties. ..
  44. Aydin A, Gur E, Erener Ercan T, Can G, Arvas A. Comparison of Different Iron Preparations in the Prophylaxis of Iron-deficiency Anemia. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2017;39:495-499 pubmed publisher
    ..Although divalent Fe therapy led to a higher Hb and serum Fe level, both ferrous and ferric Fe preparations were effective for prophylactic use in the prevention of Fe deficiency and IDA with comparable side effects. ..
  45. Idjradinata P, Pollitt E. Reversal of developmental delays in iron-deficient anaemic infants treated with iron. Lancet. 1993;341:1-4 pubmed
    ..The poor performance of 12-18-month-old iron-deficient anaemic infants in the Bayley scales of mental and motor development can be improved to the level of performance of iron-sufficient infants by treatment with ferrous sulphate. ..
  46. Kiss J, Birch R, Steele W, Wright D, Cable R. Quantification of body iron and iron absorption in the REDS-II Donor Iron Status Evaluation (RISE) study. Transfusion. 2017;57:1656-1664 pubmed publisher
    ..In contrast to using ferritin alone, this model allows assessment of the iron content of red blood cells and the degree of both iron surplus and depletion over time. ..
  47. Pasricha S, Marks D, Salvin H, Brama T, Keller A, Pink J, et al. Postdonation iron replacement for maintaining iron stores in female whole blood donors in routine donor practice: results of two feasibility studies in Australia. Transfusion. 2017;57:1922-1929 pubmed publisher
    ..DIRECT was effective in preventing declines in ferritin concentration. Trade-offs between cost, complexity, uptake, and effectiveness must be considered in the implementation of postdonation iron supplementation. ..
  48. Honda H, Michihata T, Shishido K, Takahashi K, Takahashi G, Hosaka N, et al. High fibroblast growth factor 23 levels are associated with decreased ferritin levels and increased intravenous iron doses in hemodialysis patients. PLoS ONE. 2017;12:e0176984 pubmed publisher
    ..In conclusion, high i-FGF23 levels may be associated with prolongation of low levels of ferritin, resulting in increased usages of iron supplementation in HD patients. ..
  49. Olivieri N, Nathan D, MacMillan J, Wayne A, Liu P, McGee A, et al. Survival in medically treated patients with homozygous beta-thalassemia. N Engl J Med. 1994;331:574-8 pubmed
    ..The prognosis for survival without cardiac disease is excellent for patients with thalassemia major who receive regular transfusions and whose serum ferritin concentrations remain below 2500 ng per milliliter with chelation therapy. ..
  50. Focht S, Snyder B, Beard J, van Gelder W, Williams L, Connor J. Regional distribution of iron, transferrin, ferritin, and oxidatively-modified proteins in young and aged Fischer 344 rat brains. Neuroscience. 1997;79:255-61 pubmed
  51. Kortas J, Kuchta A, Prusik K, Prusik K, Ziemann E, Labudda S, et al. Nordic walking training attenuation of oxidative stress in association with a drop in body iron stores in elderly women. Biogerontology. 2017;18:517-524 pubmed publisher
    ..8 ± 19.3-75.3 ± 21.1, p < 0.05, whereas other lipid parameters remained unchanged. In conclusion, NW training reduced body iron stores and it was associated with lower oxidative stress and better endurance. ..
  52. Erikson K, Pinero D, Connor J, Beard J. Regional brain iron, ferritin and transferrin concentrations during iron deficiency and iron repletion in developing rats. J Nutr. 1997;127:2030-8 pubmed
    ..The brain of developing rats thus distributes iron and iron regulatory proteins differently from the brain of adult rats and is quite avid in its reacquisition of iron during iron therapy. ..
  53. Alam F, Fatima F, Orakzai S, Iqbal N, Fatima S. Elevated levels of ferritin and hs-CRP in type 2 diabetes. J Pak Med Assoc. 2014;64:1389-91 pubmed
    ..316; p<0.006). Elevated ferritin levels without evident iron overload may affect glucose homeostasis, leading to insulin resistance in conjunction with inflammatory changes as seen by elevated C-reactive protein levels. ..