Hemosiderin or haemosiderin is an abnormal microscopic pigment found in the human body. Hemosiderin is composed of iron oxide and can accumulate in different organs in various diseases. Iron is required by many of the chemical reactions in the body but is toxic when not properly contained. Thus, many methods of iron storage have developed.

Humans store iron within a protein called ferritin. The form of iron in ferritin is Iron(III) oxide-hydroxide. By complexing with ferritin, the iron is made water soluble. Several diseases result in deposition of Iron(III) oxide-hydroxide in tissues in an insoluble form. These deposits of iron are called hemosiderin. Although these deposits often cause no symptoms, they can lead to organ damage.


Hemosiderin often forms after bleeding (hemorrhage).cite web |url=http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/FORHTML/FOR138.html |title=Forensic Pathology |format= |work= |accessdate=] When blood leaves a ruptured blood vessel, the cell dies and the hemoglobin of the red blood cells is released into the extracellular space. White blood cells called macrophages engulf (phagocytose) the hemoglobin to degrade it, producing hemosiderin and porphyrin.

Diseases associated with hemosiderin deposition

Hemosiderin may deposit in diseases associated with iron overload. These diseases are typically diseases in which chronic blood loss requires frequent blood transfusions, such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia.


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  • hemosiderin — n. (Med.) a granular yellowish brown substance composed of protein and ferric oxide, resulting from the breakdown of hemoglobin; it has a higher iron content than ferritin, and its presence in body tissues or phagocytes can be a symptom of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hemosiderin — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary hem + sider + 1 in Date: circa 1885 a yellowish brown granular intracellular pigment that is formed in some phagocytic cells (as macrophages) by the breakdown of hemoglobin and is probably… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hemosiderin — /hee moh sid euhr in, hem oh /, n. Biochem. a yellowish brown protein containing iron, derived chiefly from hemoglobin and found in body tissue and phagocytes, esp. as the result of disorders in iron metabolism and the breakdown of red blood… …   Universalium

  • hemosiderin — noun An abnormal microscopic pigment, formed of granules of a complex of iron hydroxides, protein and polysaccharides, that forms in tissues of patients having an excess of iron …   Wiktionary

  • hemosiderin — A golden yellow or yellow brown insoluble protein produced by phagocytic digestion of hematin; found in most tissues, especially in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, in the form of granules much larger than ferritin …   Medical dictionary

  • hemosiderin — n. protein containing iron and found in body tissue (especially as a result of certain disorders) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • hemosiderin — he·mo·sid·er·in …   English syllables

  • hemosiderin — noun a granular brown substance composed of ferric oxide; left from the breakdown of hemoglobin; can be a sign of disturbed iron metabolism (Freq. 2) • Syn: ↑haemosiderin • Hypernyms: ↑pigment • Substance Meronyms: ↑ferric oxide * * * …   Useful english dictionary

  • Hemosiderosis — Infobox Disease Name = PAGENAME Caption = Image of a kidney viewed under a microscope. The brown areas contain hemosiderin DiseasesDB = ICD10 = ICD9 = ICDO = OMIM = MedlinePlus = eMedicineSubj = eMedicineTopic = MeshID = D006486 Hemosiderosis… …   Wikipedia

  • Ferritin — protein Name = ferritin, light polypeptide caption = Structure of the ferritin complex width = 200 HGNCid = 3999 Symbol = FTL AltSymbols = EntrezGene = 2512 OMIM = 134790 RefSeq = NM 000146 UniProt = P02792 PDB = ECnumber = Chromosome = 19 Arm =… …   Wikipedia

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