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Free Radic Biol Med. 2005 Jan 15;38(2):276-85.

Oxidation-induced ferritin turnover in microglial cells: role of proteasome.

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Neuroscience Research Center, University Hospital Charité, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.


Highly oxidized protein aggregates accumulating in the brain during neurodegenerative diseases are often surrounded by microglia. Most of the microglial cells surrounding these plaques are activated and release a high amount of oxidizing species. In order to develop their toxic effects numerous oxidizing species need iron. To prevent this iron-dependent oxidation an iron-sequestering apparatus exists, including the major iron storage protein ferritin. Microglial cells damage their own protein pool during activation and it is still unknown whether microglial cells are able to maintain their iron-sequestering function during oxidative stress. Therefore, we explored the microglial cell line RAW to test the maintenance of ferritin under oxidizing conditions. Our investigations revealed a half-life of both ferritin chains of 3-3.5 h and a reduced half-life due to oxidation. This was due to the removal of oxidized ferritin by the proteasomal system. Ferritin de novo synthesis was also severely affected by oxidation. This results in a decreased ferritin pool due to acute oxidative stress. These data let us conclude that microglial cells do not increase their ferritin amount after oxidative stress and an increase in the iron storage capacity in these cells after treatment might be achieved only by a high iron saturation of the existing ferritin molecules.

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