Despite its essential role in many biological processes, iron is toxic when in excess due to its propensity to generate reactive oxygen species. To prevent diseases associated with iron deficiency or iron loading, iron homeostasis must be tightly controlled. Intracellular iron content is regulated by the Iron Regulatory Element-Iron Regulatory Protein (IRE-IRP) system, whereas systemic iron availability is adjusted to body iron needs chiefly by the hepcidin-ferroportin (FPN) axis. Here, we aimed to review advances in the field that shed light on cell-type-specific regulatory mechanisms that control or modify systemic and local iron balance, and how shifts in cellular iron levels may affect specialized cell functions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.