Where ferroptosis inhibitors and paraquat detoxification mechanisms intersect, exploring possible treatment strategies

Niloofar Rashidipour, Somayyeh Karami-Mohajeri, Ali Mandegary, Reza Mohammadinejad, Anselm Wong, Melika Mohit, Jafar Salehi, Milad Ashrafizadeh, Amir Najafi, Ardavan Abiri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Paraquat (PQ) is a fast-acting and effective herbicide that is used throughout the world to eliminate weeds. Over the past years, PQ was considered one of the most popular poisoning substances for suicide, and PQ poisoning accounts for about one-third of suicides around the world. Poisoning with PQ may cause multiorgan failure, pulmonary fibrosis, and ultimately death. Exposure to PQ results in the accumulation of PQ in the lungs, causing severe damage and, eventually, fibrosis. Until now, no effective antidote has been found to treat poisoning with PQ. In general, the toxicity of PQ is due to the formation of high energy oxygen free radicals and the peroxidation of unsaturated lipids in the cell. Ferroptosis is the result of the loss of glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) activity that transforms iron-dependent lipid hydroperoxides to lipid alcohols, which are inert in the biological environment. Impaired iron metabolism and lipid peroxidation are increasingly known as the driving agents of ferroptosis. The contribution of ferroptosis to the development of cell death during poisoning with PQ has not yet been addressed. There is growing evidence about the relationship between PQ poisoning and ferroptosis. This raises the possibility of using ferroptosis inhibitors for the treatment of PQ poisoning. In this hypothesis-driven review article, we elaborated how ferroptosis inhibitors might circumvent the toxicity induced by PQ and may be potentially useful for the treatment of PQ toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number152407
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2020


  • Ferroptosis
  • Herbicide
  • Paraquat
  • Poisoning
  • PQ
  • ROS

Cite this