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Novel cellular defenses against iron and oxidation: ferritin and autophagocytosis preserve lysosomal stability in airway epithelium
Linköping University, Department of Medicine and Care, Pulmonary Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Biomedicine and Surgery, Cell biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Neuroscience and Locomotion, Pathology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2001 (English)In: Redox report, ISSN 1351-0002, Vol. 6, no 1, 57-63 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Adsorbed to a variety of particles, iron may be carried to the lungs by inhalation thereby contributing to a number of inflammatory lung disorders. Redox-active iron is a potent catalyst of oxidative processes, but intracellularly it is bound primarily to ferritin in a non-reactive form and probably is catalytically active largely within the lysosomal compartment. Damage to the membranes of these organelles causes the release to the cytosol of a host of powerful hydrolytic enzymes, inducing apoptotic or necrotic cell death. The results of this study, using cultured BEAS-2B cells, which are adenovirus transformed human bronchial epithelial cells, and A549 cells, which have characteristics similar to type II alveolar epithelial cells, suggest that the varying abilities of different types of lung cells to resist oxidative stress may be due to differences in intralysosomal iron chelation. Cellular ferritin and iron were assayed by ELISA and atomic absorption, while plasma and lysosomal membrane stability were evaluated by the acridine orange uptake and trypan blue dye exclusion tests, respectively. Normally, and also after exposure to an iron complex, A549 cells contained significantly more ferritin (2.26 ± 0.60 versus 0.63 ± 0.33 ng/μg protein, P <0.001) and less iron (0.96 ± 0.14 versus 1.48 ± 0.21 ng/μg protein, P <0.05) than did BEAS-2B cells. Probably as a consequence, iron-exposed A549 cells displayed more stable lysosomes (P <0.05) and better survival (P <0.05) following oxidative stress. Following starvation-induced autophagocytosis, which also enhances resistance to oxidant stress, the A549 cells showed a significant reduction in ferritin, and the BEAS-2B cells did not. These results suggest that intralysosomal ferritin enhances lysosomal stability by iron-chelation, preventing Fenton-type chemistry. This notion was further supported by the finding that endocytosis of apoferritin, added to the medium, stabilized lysosomes (P <0.001 versus P <0.01) and increased survival (P <0.01 versus P <0.05) of iron-loaded A549 and BEAS-2B cells. Assuming that primary cell lines of the alveolar and bronchial epithelium behave in a similar manner as these respiratory cell lines, intrabronchial instillation of apoferritin-containing liposomes may in the future be a treatment for iron-dependent airway inflammatory processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. Vol. 6, no 1, 57-63 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-25287DOI: 10.1179/135100001101536049Local ID: 9727OAI: diva2:245615
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2012-10-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Prevention of oxidant-induced cell death by intralysosomal iron binding
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Prevention of oxidant-induced cell death by intralysosomal iron binding
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The lung is particularly prone to oxidative stress by its exposure to ambient oxygen and inhaled environmental oxidants. Abnormal assimilation and accumulation of iron are found in many lung disorders, which in redox-active form will exacerbate oxidative tissue damage. It may be that the most important cellular pool of redox -active iron exists within lysosomes. As a result, these organelles are very vulnerable to oxidative stress and may burst due to peroxidative membrane destabilization. Support for the importance of intralysosomal iron in cellular oxidant damage includes the observation that the iron chelator, desferrioxamine, which almost exclusively localizes within the lysosomal compartment, will protect cells against oxidati ve challenge. Iron chelators targeted to the lysosomes may therefore be a particularly efficient therapeutic strategy for cells under conditions of substantial oxidative stress.

The present study, employing cultures of human respiratory epithelial cells and murine macrophage-like cells, explores the protective effects by iron binding agents upon H202 and gamma radiation-induced lysosomal damage and cell death. Using these in vitro models, the present study shows: (1) that chelation of intralysosomal iron efficiently prevents lysosomal rupture and ensuing cell death induced by either H202 or gamma radiation; (2) that cell permeable lysosomotropic iron-chelators are much more efficient than those being internalized by endocytosis; (3) that intralysosomal iron is the most important cellular pool of redox-active iron for chelation therapy; (4) that ironcatalyzed peroxidative lysosomal destabilization is a decisive and early event in the apoptotic machinery.

Although apoferritin and desferrioxarnine suppress the reactivity of lysosomal iron, their efficacy is considerably restrained by their uptake by fluid-phase endocytosis. Apoferritin is digested intralysosomally which further decreases its iron sequestering potential, while desferrioxamine by its intralysosomal retention may disturbe normal cellular functions and cause iron-starvation. Amongst cell permeable iron-binding agents we tested a-lipoic acid, alipoamide, and a synthetic amine derivative of α-lipoarnide, α-lipoic acid-plus (5-[1,2] dithiolan-3-yl-pentanoic acid (2-dimethylamino-ethyl) amide). The large difference in the protective potential of these cell permeant iron-chelators derives from their being localized in different cellular compartments, which lends further support that lysososomes contain the most important pool of chelatable redox-active iron. Indeed, a-lipoic acid-plus by its lysosomotropism was by all means the most efficient iron chelator. On a molar basis α-lipoic acid-plus was 4,000 to 5,000 times more effective than desferrioxamine to prevent lysosomal rupture and cell death induced by H202 or gamma radiation.

We conclude that iron chelating therapy targeted to the lysosomes is an efficient strategy to protect oxidatively stressed cells in vitro. A corresponding efficacy of such treatment in vivo, and in iron dependent pulmonary disorders in particular, needs to be explored.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2003. 60 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 812
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-27537 (URN)12194 (Local ID)91-7373-502-7 (ISBN)12194 (Archive number)12194 (OAI)
Public defence
2003-10-23, Victoriasalen, Universitetssjukhuset, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2012-10-05Bibliographically approved

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