Submit Manuscript  

Article Details

Treponema, Iron and Neurodegeneration

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 8 ]


A. Jolivet-Gougeon* and M. Bonnaure-Mallet   Pages 716 - 722 ( 7 )


Spirochetes are suspected to be linked to the genesis of neurological diseases, including neurosyphillis or neurodegeneration (ND). Impaired iron homeostasis has been implicated in loss of function in several enzymes requiring iron as a cofactor, formation of toxic oxidative species, inflammation and elevated production of beta-amyloid proteins. This review proposes to discuss the link that may exist between the involvement of Treponema spp. in the genesis or worsening of ND, and iron dyshomeostasis. Proteins secreted by Treponema can act directly on iron metabolism, with hemin binding ability (HbpA and HbpB) and iron reductase able to reduce the central ferric iron of hemin, iron-containing proteins (rubredoxin, neelaredoxin, desulfoferrodoxin metalloproteins, bacterioferritins etc). Treponema can also interact with cellular compounds, especially plasma proteins involved in iron metabolism, contributing to the virulence of the syphilis spirochetes (e.g. treponemal motility and survival). Fibronectin, transferrin and lactoferrin were also shown to be receptors for treponemal adherence to host cells and extracellular matrix. Association between Treponema and iron binding proteins results in iron accumulation and sequestration by Treponema from host macromolecules during systemic and mucosal infections.


Dysbiosis, iron, inflammation, neurodegenerative disease, Treponema, Spirochetes.


EA 1254 Microbiologie, Université de Rennes 1, 2, avenue du Professeur Léon Bernard, 35043 Rennes, EA 1254 Microbiologie, Université de Rennes 1, 2, avenue du Professeur Léon Bernard, 35043 Rennes

Read Full-Text article