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Blood. 2010 Nov 18;116(20):4328-37. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-03-272781. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

Inhibition of erythropoiesis in malaria anemia: role of hemozoin and hemozoin-generated 4-hydroxynonenal.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Biology, and Biochemistry, Laboratory of Cell Therapy, University of Torino Medical School, Torino, Italy.


Severe malaria anemia is characterized by inhibited/altered erythropoiesis and presence of hemozoin-(HZ)-laden bone-marrow macrophages. HZ mediates peroxidation of unsaturated fatty acids and production of bioactive aldehydes such as 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE). HZ-laden human monocytes inhibited growth of cocultivated human erythroid cells and produced HNE that diffused to adjacent cells generating HNE-protein adducts. Cocultivation with HZ or treatment with low micromolar HNE inhibited growth of erythroid cells interfering with cell cycle without apoptosis. After HZ/HNE treatment, 2 critical proteins in cell-cycle regulation, p53 and p21, were increased and the retinoblastoma protein, central regulator of G₁-to-S-phase transition, was consequently hypophosphorylated, while GATA-1, master transcription factor in erythropoiesis was reduced. The resultant decreased expression of cyclin A and D2 retarded cell-cycle progression in erythroid cells and the K562 cell line. As a second major effect, HZ and HNE inhibited protein expression of crucial receptors (R): transferrinR1, stem cell factorR, interleukin-3R, and erythropoietinR. The reduced receptor expression and the impaired cell-cycle activity decreased the production of cells expressing glycophorin-A and hemoglobin. Present data confirm the inhibitory role of HZ, identify HNE as one HZ-generated inhibitory molecule and describe molecular targets of HNE in erythroid progenitors possibly involved in erythropoiesis inhibition in malaria anemia.

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