2017 Volume 60 Issue 1 Pages 39-48
Owing to its distinctive electrochemical properties with interconvertible multiple oxidation states, iron plays a significant role in various physiologically important functions such as respiration, oxygen transport, energy production, and enzymatic reactions. This redox activity can also potentially produce cellular damage and death, and numerous diseases are related to iron overload resulting from the dysfunction of the iron regulatory system. In this case, ”free iron” or ”labile iron,” which refers to iron ion weakly bound or not bound to proteins, causes aberrant production of reactive oxygen species. With the aim of elucidating the variation of labile iron involved in pathological processes, some chemical tools that can qualitatively and/or quantitatively monitor iron have been utilized to investigate the distribution, accumulation, and flux of biological iron species. Since iron ions show unique reactivity depending on its redox state, i.e., Fe2+ or Fe3+ (or transiently higher oxidative states), methods for the separate detection of iron species with different redox states are preferred to understand its physiological and pathological roles more in detail. The scope of this review article covers from classical chromogenic to newly emerging chemical tools for the detection of Fe ions. In particular, chemical tools applicable to biological studies will be presented.