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J Clin Invest. 1991 Oct;88(4):1103-12.

Lactoferrin inhibits or promotes Legionella pneumophila intracellular multiplication in nonactivated and interferon gamma-activated human monocytes depending upon its degree of iron saturation. Iron-lactoferrin and nonphysiologic iron chelates reverse monocyte activation against Legionella pneumophila.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles 90024.

Abstract

We have been exploring the role of iron in the pathogenesis of the intracellular bacterial pathogen Legionella pneumophila. In previous studies, we have demonstrated that L. pneumophila intracellular multiplication in human monocytes is iron dependent and that IFN gamma-activated monocytes inhibit L. pneumophila intracellular multiplication by limiting the availability of iron. In this study, we have investigated the effect on L. pneumophila intracellular multiplication of lactoferrin, an iron-binding protein which is internalized via specific receptors on monocytes, and of nonphysiologic iron chelates which enter monocytes by a receptor-independent route. Apolactoferrin completely inhibited L. pneumophila multiplication in nonactivated monocytes, and enhanced the capacity of IFN gamma-activated monocytes to inhibit L. pneumophila intracellular multiplication. In contrast, iron-saturated lactoferrin had no effect on the already rapid rate of L. pneumophila multiplication in nonactivated monocytes. Moreover, it reversed the capacity of activated monocytes to inhibit L. pneumophila intracellular multiplication, demonstrating that L. pneumophila can utilize iron from the lactoferrin-lactoferrin receptor pathway. The capacity of iron-lactoferrin to reverse monocyte activation was dependent upon its percent iron saturation and not just its total iron content. Similarly, the nonphysiologic iron chelates ferric nitrilotriacetate and ferric ammonium citrate completely reverse and ferric pyrophosphate partially reversed the capacity of IFN gamma-activated monocytes to inhibit L. pneumophila intracellular multiplication, demonstrating that L. pneumophila can utilize iron derived from nonphysiologic iron chelates internalized by monocytes independently of the transferrin and lactoferrin endocytic pathways. This study suggests that at sites of inflammation, lactoferrin may inhibit or promote L. pneumophila intracellular multiplication in mononuclear phagocytes depending upon its degree of iron saturation. In addition, this study suggests a potential role for PMN in host defense against L. pneumophila--providing apolactoferrin to infected monocytes--and it supports the concept that PMN and monocytes may cooperate in host defense against intracellular parasites and other pathogens.

PMID:
1918366
PMCID:
PMC295561
DOI:
10.1172/JCI115409
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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