Topical Area: Vitamins and Minerals
Objectives : Iron recycled from erythrophagocytosis by macrophages serves as a primary source of systemic iron. NCOA4 mediates ferritin turnover via ferritinophagy. Yet, whether NCOA4 is important in macrophages or erythrophagocytosis-mediated iron recycling remains unclear, and thus was assessed in vitro.
J774 cells were employed as an in vitro model of macrophages. Iron studies involved treatments of ferric ammonium citrate (FAC) or an iron chelator, deferoxamine (Dfo). To recapitulate systemic iron recycling and overload, cells were treated with opsonized erythrocytes and minihepcidin, respectively. NCOA4 knock-down was achieved by siRNA transfection. Iron gene responses were measured by qPCR and western analyses, and viable cell counts were colorimetrically determined by CCK8 assays as functional outcomes.
Results : NCOA4 protein abundance was inversely related to iron availability and ferritin in macrophages. Loss of NCOA4 resulted in impaired ferritin turnover, and led to a reduction in viable cells when combined with iron deficiency. By erythrophagocytosis, a peak in ferritin abundance was observed at 12 h with a subsequent decrease at 24 h. This loss in ferritin was NCOA4-dependent. Minihepcidin caused accumulation of ferritin, along with a repression of NCOA4 in both control and erythrocyte-laden macrophages. Hepcidin activity had no effect on ferritin when NCOA4 was depleted.
Conclusions : NCOA4 mediates the release of ferritin iron during cellular iron restriction and iron recycling by macrophages. Moreover, our studies suggest that macrophage NCOA4 is integral to systemic iron homeostasis by responding to the iron regulatory hormone, hepcidin. Thus, NCOA4 and ferritinophagy may potentially serve as therapeutic targets for treatments of iron disorders and anemia of chronic disease.
Funding Sources :
Supported by the NIFA, USDA, Hatch project under MIN-18-118 and intramural support to M-S.R.