The molecular regulation of intracellular iron metabolism has been studied in the livers of rats undergoing an acute inflammatory reaction following turpentine injection. Treatment induced an increase in the steady-state level of the transferrin receptor (TfR) mRNA, peaking 18 h after treatment and returning to control levels 24 h after treatment, with no change in TfR gene transcription. RNA band-shift assays documented an activation of the cytoplasmic RNA-binding protein called the iron-regulatory protein (IRP), in parallel with a rise in the amount of TfR transcripts. A 2-3-fold increase in the amount of H and L ferritin subunit mRNAs was found 12-18 h after turpentine treatment. Surprisingly, higher accumulation of ferritin mRNAs did not result in appreciable differences in the liver ferritin content. This might be due to the concomitant rise of IRP activity, which is known to prevent ferritin mRNA translation. The absence of significant changes in the total iron and ferritin contents prompted us to investigate the role of nitric oxide (NO), an inflammatory mediator which is also known to modulate the activity of IRP. Northern-blot analysis showed a marked enhancement in the expression of the inducible form of nitric oxide synthase mRNA in turpentine-treated rats. Furthermore, the activation of IRP and the increase of the TfR mRNA content that occur in turpentine-treated rats were abolished by treatment with N5-nitro-L-arginine, a specific nitric oxide synthase inhibitor. The present data suggest that NO-mediated activation of IRP regulates alterations of hepatic iron homeostasis that occur in acute inflammation.
Nitric-oxide-mediated activation of iron-regulatory protein controls hepatic iron metabolism during acute inflammation / Cairo, G; Pietrangelo, Antonello. - In: EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF BIOCHEMISTRY. - ISSN 0014-2956. - STAMPA. - 232(2):(1995), pp. 358-363.