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Am J Physiol. 1999 Aug;277(2):L257-63. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.1999.277.2.L257.

Effects of TNF-alpha and IL-1beta on iron metabolism by A549 cells and influence on cytotoxicity.

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Department of Medicine, Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Kansas City, Missouri 64128, USA.


Extracellular iron, which is predominantly bound by transferrin, is present in low concentrations within alveolar structures, and concentrations are increased in various pulmonary disorders. Iron accumulation by cells can promote oxidative injury. However, the synthesis of ferritin stimulated by metal exposure for intracellular iron storage is normally protective. The cytokines tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interleukin (IL)-1beta may alter iron metabolism by alveolar cells. In this study, we assessed the effects of TNF-alpha and IL-1beta on iron metabolism with a cell line with properties of type 2 alveolar epithelial cells (A549) exposed to non-transferrin-bound (NTBI; FeSO(4)) or transferrin-bound (TBI) iron. In addition, we assessed the cytotoxicity of these exposures by measuring the cell accumulation of malondialdehyde (MDA), a product of lipid peroxidation, and cell death (MTT assay and lactate dehydrogenase release). A549 cells treated with NTBI or TBI in concentrations up to 40 microM accumulated iron and synthesized predominantly L-type ferritin without accumulation of MDA or cell death. Treatment of A549 cells with TNF-alpha (20 ng) or IL-1beta (20 ng) decreased cell transferrin-receptor expression and induced synthesis of H-type ferritin. TNF-alpha and IL-1beta decreased the uptake of TBI; however, the uptake of NTBI was increased. Both cytokines enhanced total ferritin synthesis (H plus L types) in response to iron treatments due to enhanced synthesis of H-type ferritin. Coexposure to TNF-alpha and NTBI, but not to TBI, induced MDA accumulation and greater cytotoxicity (MTT and lactate dehydrogenase release) than TNF-alpha alone. These findings indicate that TNF-alpha and IL-1beta modulate iron uptake by A549 cells, with differing effects on TBI and NTBI, as well as on H-ferritin synthesis. Enhanced iron uptake induced by TNF-alpha and NTBI was also associated with increased cytotoxicity to A549 cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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