Southern Africa is burdened with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tuberculosis) infections as well as conditions of iron (Fe) overload. Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) is used to treat HIV-infection, many drugs exist for the treatment of tuberculosis (new solutions are also being sought because of the existence of multi drug resistant strains of M.tuberculosis) and Fe chelators are commonly used to treat Fe overload. Chelators have also been shown to inhibit the multiplication of numerous microorganisms and hence there are publications suggesting a role for chelators like desferrioxamine (DFO) in the dual treatment of microorganism infection and excess iron. Excess iron fuels pathogen survival which in turn lowers host cell functionality (manifested as altered proliferation, cytokine secretion, etc); withholding iron (via a chelator) reverses the process, even more so when the cells are chelated for longer periods of time. Chelation with DFO is reviewed here by commenting on its immunomodulatory effect.
Keywords: Desferrioxamine, HIV, M.tuberculosis, iron, immunomodulatory, immune restoration
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