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01.10.2016 | main topic | Ausgabe 13-14/2016 Open Access

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 13-14/2016

Iron deficiency or anemia of inflammation?

Differential diagnosis and mechanisms of anemia of inflammation

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 13-14/2016
Manfred Nairz, Igor Theurl, Dominik Wolf, Günter Weiss


Iron deficiency and immune activation are the two most frequent causes of anemia, both of which are based on disturbances of iron homeostasis. Iron deficiency anemia results from a reduction of the body’s iron content due to blood loss, inadequate dietary iron intake, its malabsorption, or increased iron demand. Immune activation drives a diversion of iron fluxes from the erythropoietic bone marrow, where hemoglobinization takes place, to storage sites, particularly the mononuclear phagocytes system in liver and spleen. This results in iron-limited erythropoiesis and anemia. This review summarizes current diagnostic and pathophysiological concepts of iron deficiency anemia and anemia of inflammation, as well as combined conditions, and provides a brief outlook on novel therapeutic options.

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