Tracing Iron

Newly funded Research Unit FerrOs studies effects of iron metabolism on bone and liver health. Professor Martina Rauner and associates receive 4.5 million Euros for DFG Research Group.

The trace element iron is essential for life. The liver is a central organ for iron homeostasis and maintains systemic iron levels in a narrow range that is optimal for human health. Iron deficiency is commonly the result of inappropriate uptake as in vegetarians or after chronic blood loss and often results in iron-deficiency anemia. Iron overload, on the other hand, can develop due to hematologic or genetic disorders. Both, too little and too much iron negatively affects bone and increases bone fragility. The underlying mechanisms of this phenomenon, however, is poorly understood.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft is now funding The Research Unit „Role of iron metabolism in the osteohepatic axis“ (FerrOs) with 4.5 million € over four years. Professor Martina Rauner from the Bone Lab Dresden & the Center for Healthy Aging (Department of Medicine III) of the Universitätsklinikum Dresden coordinates this interdisciplinary consortium composed of scientists from Heidelberg, Münster, Ulm, Zürich and Dresden. The researchers will decipher the mechanisms for fine-tuning iron regulation and investigate molecular connections between the liver and bone. With this program, the FerrOs group aims to obtain new insights into mechanisms of iron-related disorders and to develop novel dual therapies that concurrently target bone and liver diseases in patients in the future.