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August 1958

Iron: Metabolism, Biochemistry, and Clinical Pathological Physiology— Review of Recent Literature

Author Affiliations

Brussels, Belgium

From the Hospital Department of Internal Medicine; Head, Dr. Jacques Dagnelie, 1952-1955.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;102(2):254-301. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260200082010

In general biology, iron plays an irreplaceable role as a catalyzer. It is found in every living species, but its proportion increases as evolution progresses in the animal kingdom.

The oligoelement has many virtues, one of them being a growth-promoting capacity. A culture of beer yeast in an iron-free medium presents only a poor development; the same phenomenon is observed on many other organisms.

The biocatalyzing property has been known since Warburg demonstrated the transportation of oxygen by the metal. Iron is found in cellular ferments, where it edifies ferric porphyrins, the most famous example of which is hemoglobin. Within these enzymes it keeps its variable valency Fe++ and Fe+++ that enables it to transfer ions and to participate in oxidoreduction processes; thus iron bestows their activity to the cytochromes, peroxidases, catalase, and cytochrome oxidase, Warburg's yellow ferment. Cellular life would be impossible without iron.

The erythropoietic property will be

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