Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Blood. 2001 Sep 15;98(6):1802-11.

Heme is a potent inducer of inflammation in mice and is counteracted by heme oxygenase.

Author information

  • 1Department of Tumor Immunology, University Medical Center Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Various pathologic conditions, such as hemorrhage, hemolysis and cell injury, are characterized by the release of large amounts of heme. Recently, it was demonstrated that heme oxygenase (HO), the heme-degrading enzyme, and heme are able to modulate adhesion molecule expression in vitro. In the present study, the effects of heme and HO on inflammation in mice were analyzed by monitoring the biodistribution of radiolabeled liposomes and leukocytes in conjunction with immunohistochemistry. Small liposomes accumulate in inflamed tissues by diffusion because of locally enhanced vascular permeability, whereas leukocytes actively migrate into inflammatory areas through specific adhesive interactions with the endothelium and chemotaxis. Exposure to heme resulted in a dramatic increase in liposome accumulation in the pancreas, but also intestines, liver, and spleen exhibited significantly increased vascular permeability. Similarly, intravenously administered heme caused an enhanced influx of radiolabeled leukocytes into these organs. Immunohistochemical analysis showed differential up-regulation of the adhesion molecules ICAM-1, P-selectin, and fibronectin in liver and pancreas in heme-treated animals. Heme-induced adhesive properties were accompanied by a massive influx of granulocytes into these inflamed tissues, suggesting an important contribution to the pathogenesis of inflammatory processes. Moreover, inhibition of HO activity exacerbated heme-induced granulocyte infiltration. Here it is demonstrated for the first time that heme induces increased vascular permeability, adhesion molecule expression, and leukocyte recruitment in vivo, whereas HO antagonizes heme-induced inflammation possibly through the down-modulation of adhesion molecules.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center