by Karolina Benesova, Maja Vujic Spasic, Sebastian M. Schaefer, Jens Stolte, Tomi Baehr-Ivacevic, Katharina Waldow, Zhe Zhou, Ursula Klingmueller, Vladimir Benes, Marcus A. Mall, Martina U. Muckenthaler
Regulation of iron homeostasis and the inflammatory response are tightly linked to protect the host from infection. Here we investigate how imbalanced systemic iron homeostasis in a murine disease model of hereditary hemochromatosis (Hfe-/- mice) affects the inflammatory responses of the lung. We induced acute pulmonary inflammation in Hfe-/- and wild-type mice by intratracheal instillation of 20 µg of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and analyzed local and systemic inflammatory responses and iron-related parameters. We show that in Hfe-/- mice neutrophil recruitment to the bronchoalveolar space is attenuated compared to wild-type mice although circulating neutrophil numbers in the bloodstream were elevated to similar levels in Hfe-/- and wild-type mice. The underlying molecular mechanisms are likely multifactorial and include elevated systemic iron levels, alveolar macrophage iron deficiency and/or hitherto unexplored functions of Hfe in resident pulmonary cell types. As a consequence, pulmonary cytokine expression is out of balance and neutrophils fail to be recruited efficiently to the bronchoalveolar compartment, a process required to protect the host from infections. In conclusion, our findings suggest a novel role for Hfe and/or imbalanced iron homeostasis in the regulation of the inflammatory response in the lung and hereditary hemochromatosis.