Ferroptosis as a mechanism of non-ferrous metal toxicity

Michael Aschner, Anatoly V. Skalny, Airton C. Martins, Anton I. Sinitskii, Marcelo Farina, Rongzhu Lu, Fernando Barbosa, Yordanka G. Gluhcheva, Abel Santamaria, Alexey A. Tinkov

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Ferroptosis is a recently discovered form of regulated cell death, implicated in multiple pathologies. Given that the toxicity elicited by some metals is linked to alterations in iron metabolism and induction of oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, ferroptosis might be involved in such toxicity. Although direct evidence is insufficient, certain pioneering studies have demonstrated a crosstalk between metal toxicity and ferroptosis. Specifically, the mechanisms underlying metal-induced ferroptosis include induction of ferritinophagy, increased DMT-1 and TfR cellular iron uptake, mitochondrial dysfunction and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mitoROS) generation, inhibition of Xc-system and glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) activity, altogether resulting in oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation. In addition, there is direct evidence of the role of ferroptosis in the toxicity of arsenic, cadmium, zinc, manganese, copper, and aluminum exposure. In contrast, findings on the impact of cobalt and nickel on ferroptosis are scant and nearly lacking altogether for mercury and especially lead. Other gaps in the field include limited studies on the role of metal speciation in ferroptosis and the critical cellular targets. Although further detailed studies are required, it seems reasonable to propose even at this early stage that ferroptosis may play a significant role in metal toxicity, and its modulation may be considered as a potential therapeutic tool for the amelioration of metal toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2391-2417
Number of pages27
JournalArchives of Toxicology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Copper
  • Ferroptosis
  • Manganese
  • Selenium, toxicity
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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