Iron acquisition by teleost fish

Nicolas Bury, Martin Grosell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Iron is a vital micronutrient for teleost fish, being an integral component of proteins involved in cellular respiration and oxygen transfer. However, in excess iron is toxic, and fish need to balance uptake to prevent deficiency vs. potential toxicity. This review assesses the current physiological and molecular knowledge of the mechanisms of iron acquisition in the teleost fish. It focuses on freshwater teleost fish when assessing the gill as a possible site for iron acquisition, and includes a summary of geochemical processes that govern aquatic iron bioavailability. It focuses on marine teleost fish for assessing the mechanism of intestinal iron uptake. Physiological evidence indicates that iron preferentially crosses the apical membrane of both the gills and intestine in the ferrous (Fe2+) state. Molecular evidence supports this, demonstrating the presence of homologues in fish to the large Slc 11a family of evolutionary conserved proteins linked to Fe2+ transport. This symporter is probably linked to a reductase, which reduces either ferric (Fe3+) or organic complexed iron to Fe2+ prior to uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - C Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Copper
  • Desferrioxamine
  • Divalent metal transporter
  • European flounder
  • Ferric reductase
  • Ferroportin
  • Metal transport
  • Siderophore
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pharmacology


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