The influence of iron deficiency on the functioning of skeletal muscles: experimental evidence and clinical implications

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Abstract

Skeletal and respiratory myopathy not only constitutes an important pathophysiological feature of heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but also contributes to debilitating symptomatology and predicts worse outcomes in these patients. Accumulated evidence from laboratory experiments, animal models, and interventional studies in sports medicine suggests that undisturbed systemic iron homeostasis significantly contributes to the effective functioning of skeletal muscles. In this review, we discuss the role of iron status for the functioning of skeletal muscle tissue, and highlight iron deficiency as an emerging therapeutic target in chronic diseases accompanied by a marked muscle dysfunction.

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