Iron is an essential element for multiple fundamental biological processes required for life; yet iron overload can be cytotoxic. Consequently, iron concentrations at the cellular and tissue level must be exquisitely governed by mechanisms that complement and fine-tune systemic control. It is well appreciated that macrophages are vital for systemic iron homeostasis, supplying or sequestering iron as needed for erythropoiesis or bacteriostasis, respectively. Indeed, recycling of iron through erythrophagocytosis by splenic macrophages is a major contributor to systemic iron homeostasis. However, accumulating evidence suggests that tissue-resident macrophages regulate local iron availability and modulate the tissue microenvironment, contributing to cellular and tissue function. Here, we summarize the significance of tissue-specific regulation of iron availability and highlight how resident macrophages are critical for this process. This tissue-dependent regulation has broad implications for understanding both resident macrophage function and tissue iron homeostasis in health and disease.
Nathan C. Winn, Katrina M. Volk, Alyssa H. Hasty