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Eur J Immunol. 2008 Nov;38(11):3060-7. doi: 10.1002/eji.200838449.

Nramp1-functionality increases iNOS expression via repression of IL-10 formation.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria.


In mice, resistance to certain intracellular microbes depends on the expression of a late phagosomal protein termed natural-resistance associated macrophage protein 1 (Nramp1, Slc11a1). Nramp1-functionality is associated with alterations of cellular iron homeostasis and a sustained pro-inflammatory immune response, including the formation of the antimicrobial effector molecule NO. To investigate the underlying mechanism we used RAW-264.7 murine macrophage cells stably transfected with a functional Nramp1 allele (RAW-37) or Nramp1 non-functional controls (RAW-21). We found that the production of and signalling by the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 was significantly enhanced in macrophages lacking functional Nramp1. Upon infection of macrophages with Salmonella typhimurium pathogen survival was significantly better in RAW-21 than in RAW-37, which inversely correlated to NO and TNF-alpha formation. Addition of a neutralising anti-IL-10 antibody to RAW-21 cells led to a significantly reduced survival of S. typhimurium within these cells and enhanced formation of NO and TNF-alpha reaching levels comparable to that observed in cells bearing functional Nramp1. Oppositely, supplementation of iron to RAW-21 cells further increased IL-10 formation.Thus, Nramp1 mediates effective host defence in part via suppression of excessive IL-10 production which may relate to Nramp1-mediated reduction of cellular iron pools, thus strengthening antimicrobial effector mechanisms.

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