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Toll-Like Receptor Signal Adaptor Protein MyD88 Is Required for Sustained Endotoxin-Induced Acute Hypoferremic Response in Mice

  • Antonio Layoun
    Affiliations
    Montreal Cancer Institute, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) Research Centre, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Hua Huang
    Affiliations
    Montreal Cancer Institute, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) Research Centre, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Search for articles by this author
  • Annie Calvé
    Affiliations
    Montreal Cancer Institute, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) Research Centre, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Manuela M. Santos
    Correspondence
    Address reprint requests to Manuela Santos, Ph.D., Centre de recherche, CHUM–Hôpital Notre-Dame, Pav. De Sève Y5625, 1560 rue Sherbrooke est, Montréal H2L 4M1, QC, Canada
    Affiliations
    Montreal Cancer Institute, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) Research Centre, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Department of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Search for articles by this author
Open ArchivePublished:April 11, 2012DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2012.01.046
      Hypoferremia, associated with immune system activation, involves a marked reduction in the levels of circulating iron, coupled with iron sequestration within macrophages. Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling plays an important role in the development of the hypoferremic response, but how downstream signaling events affect genes involved in iron metabolism is incompletely understood. We investigated the involvement of MyD88-dependent (MyD88) and MyD88-independent (TRIF) TLR signaling in the development of hypoferremia. Using MyD88-deficient and TRIF-deficient mice, we show that MyD88 and TRIF signaling pathways are critical for up-regulation by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of the iron regulator hepcidin. In addition, MyD88 signaling is required for the induction of lipocalin 2 secretion and iron sequestration in the spleen. Activation of TLR4 and TLR3 signaling through LPS and polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)] treatments resulted in rapid down-regulation of HFE protein [encoded by the hemochromatosis gene (Hfe)] and ferroportin [encoded by solute carrier family 40 (iron-regulated transporter), member 1 (Slc40a1)] expression in the spleen, independent of MyD88 or TRIF signaling and proinflammatory cytokine production. However, lack of MyD88 signaling significantly impaired the hypoferremic response triggered by LPS, indicating that ferroportin and HFE protein down-regulation alone are insufficient to maintain hypoferremia. The extent of the hypoferremic response was found to be limited by initial, basal iron levels. Together, these results suggest that targeting specific TLR signaling pathways by affecting the function of adaptor molecules may provide new strategies to counteract iron sequestration within macrophages during inflammation.
      Inflammation is viewed as a protective response by the body necessary to remove, control, or neutralize injurious stimuli.
      • Medzhitov R.
      Origin and physiological roles of inflammation.
      Examples of harmful stimuli that can trigger an acute inflammatory response include invading pathogens, damaged cells, and irritants. Acute inflammation is triggered by the innate immune system, which represents the first line of defense in response to invading pathogens or tissue damage and plays a major role in host defense.
      • Kumar H.
      • Kawai T.
      • Akira S.
      Pathogen recognition by the innate immune system.
      The innate immune response is activated through germline-encoded receptors, called pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). The PRRs recognize molecular patterns conserved throughout evolution in a wide range of microorganisms; these patterns are collectively termed pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Among the best characterized PRR families are the Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which are responsible for sensing invading pathogens both outside the cell and in intracellular endosomes and lysosomes.
      • Kumar H.
      • Kawai T.
      • Akira S.
      Pathogen recognition by the innate immune system.
      Each TLR recognizes specific PAMPs. For example, together with myeloid differentiation factor 2 (MD2), TLR4 recognizes extracellular lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which is a component of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. In addition, TLR4 is also involved in the recognition of viruses by binding to viral envelope proteins. TLR3 detects viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) in the endolysosome and is involved in the recognition of polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)], a synthetic dsRNA analog.
      After ligand binding, TLRs dimerize and undergo a conformational change required for the recruitment of downstream signaling molecules, which include a variety of adaptor molecules. Two major pathways have been identified, based on the usage of the distinct adaptor molecules MyD88 and TIR domain-containing adaptor inducing IFN-β (TRIF; alias TICAM-1).
      • Kumar H.
      • Kawai T.
      • Akira S.
      Pathogen recognition by the innate immune system.
      The MyD88 adaptor protein is essential for the downstream signaling of most TLRs. One exception is TLR3, which recruits TRIF adaptor protein in response to stimulation with dsRNA. The end result of these signaling cascades is the stimulation of gene expression and subsequent activation of antimicrobial and inflammatory activities.
      Several of the genes that modify their expression levels during the TLR-mediated innate immune response are intrinsically linked to the control of iron metabolism. They are involved in the regulation of cellular iron uptake, release, and storage and play a pivotal role in the hypoferremic response.
      • Weiss G.
      Iron metabolism in the anemia of chronic disease.
      The hypoferremic response involves a marked reduction in the levels of extracellular iron associated with circulating iron levels and has been regarded as an important defense mechanism by which the host limits iron acquisition by invading pathogens. Iron is sequestered within macrophages during the hypoferremic response, resulting in limited iron availability for erythropoiesis.
      • Weiss G.
      Iron metabolism in the anemia of chronic disease.
      Although a transient hypoferremic response may be viewed as beneficial, long-term iron sequestration within macrophages becomes a critical factor contributing to the development of anemia of chronic disease or anemia of inflammation.
      • Ganz T.
      • Nemeth E.
      Iron sequestration and anemia of inflammation.
      Anemia of chronic disease is frequently found in patients with infections, malignancies, and autoimmune disorders and can substantially contribute to the morbidity of the underlying disease. In many instances, anemia of chronic disease is a predictor of adverse outcomes.
      Mechanistically, iron diversion from the circulation into storage has been attributed to the production of proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α and IL-6 after immune activation.
      • Weiss G.
      Iron metabolism in the anemia of chronic disease.
      These proinflammatory cytokines regulate the levels of several iron metabolism genes, including the transferrin receptor (an iron importer),
      • Byrd T.F.
      • Horwitz M.A.
      Regulation of transferrin receptor expression and ferritin content in human mononuclear phagocytes Coordinate upregulation by iron transferrin and downregulation by interferon gamma.
      • Tacchini L.
      • Gammella E.
      • De Ponti C.
      • Recalcati S.
      • Cairo G.
      Role of HIF-1 and NF-kappaB transcription factors in the modulation of transferrin receptor by inflammatory and anti-inflammatory signals.
      ferroportin (an iron exporter),
      • Donovan A.
      • Brownlie A.
      • Zhou Y.
      • Shepard J.
      • Pratt S.J.
      • Moynihan J.
      • Paw B.H.
      • Drejer A.
      • Barut B.
      • Zapata A.
      • Law T.C.
      • Brugnara C.
      • Lux S.E.
      • Pinkus G.S.
      • Pinkus J.L.
      • Kingsley P.D.
      • Palis J.
      • Fleming M.D.
      • Andrews N.C.
      • Zon L.I.
      Positional cloning of zebrafish ferroportin1 identifies a conserved vertebrate iron exporter.
      • Abboud S.
      • Haile D.J.
      A novel mammalian iron-regulated protein involved in intracellular iron metabolism.
      • McKie A.T.
      • Marciani P.
      • Rolfs A.
      • Brennan K.
      • Wehr K.
      • Barrow D.
      • Miret S.
      • Bomford A.
      • Peters T.J.
      • Farzaneh F.
      • Hediger M.A.
      • Hentze M.W.
      • Simpson R.J.
      A novel duodenal iron-regulated transporter, IREG1, implicated in the basolateral transfer of iron to the circulation.
      and ferritin (an iron storage protein).
      • Torti S.V.
      • Kwak E.L.
      • Miller S.C.
      • Miller L.L.
      • Ringold G.M.
      • Myambo K.B.
      • Young A.P.
      • Torti F.M.
      The molecular cloning and characterization of murine ferritin heavy chain, a tumor necrosis factor-inducible gene.
      Ferroportin binds to hepcidin, an antimicrobial peptide
      • Park C.H.
      • Valore E.V.
      • Waring A.J.
      • Ganz T.
      Hepcidin, a urinary antimicrobial peptide synthesized in the liver.
      • Pigeon C.
      • Ilyin G.
      • Courselaud B.
      • Leroyer P.
      • Turlin B.
      • Brissot P.
      • Loreal O.
      A new mouse liver-specific gene, encoding a protein homologous to human antimicrobial peptide hepcidin, is overexpressed during iron overload.
      that induces ferroportin endocytosis and degradation.
      • Nemeth E.
      • Tuttle M.S.
      • Powelson J.
      • Vaughn M.B.
      • Donovan A.
      • Ward D.M.
      • Ganz T.
      • Kaplan J.
      Hepcidin regulates cellular iron efflux by binding to ferroportin and inducing its internalization.
      Hepcidin thus plays a pivotal role in controlling iron efflux from macrophages during the hypoferremic response.
      In previous studies, we found that mice deficient in TLR4 are unable to regulate hepatic hepcidin expression in response to LPS, indicating that hepcidin induction in the liver is dependent on the signaling pathways mediated by TLR4.
      • Constante M.
      • Jiang W.
      • Wang D.
      • Raymond V.A.
      • Bilodeau M.
      • Santos M.M.
      Distinct requirements for Hfe in basal and induced hepcidin levels in iron overload and inflammation.
      TLR4-deficient mice retained the ability to mount a hypoferremic response, however, which suggests that acute changes in iron homeostasis elicited by LPS may occur through both TRL4-dependent and TRL4-independent mechanisms.
      • Constante M.
      • Wang D.
      • Raymond V.A.
      • Bilodeau M.
      • Santos M.M.
      Repression of repulsive guidance molecule C during inflammation is independent of Hfe and involves tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
      These studies led us to ask whether genes involved in iron metabolism may be regulated via divergent adaptor proteins and downstream signaling pathways triggered by TLR ligands.
      In the present study, to gain further insight into the mechanisms involved in the acute hypoferremic response, we investigated the role of the alternative TLR adaptors MyD88 and TRIF, by using MyD88−/− and TRIF-deficient mice. In addition, HFE protein and lipocalin-2 (Lcn2), two important proteins in iron metabolism
      • Feder J.N.
      • Gnirke A.
      • Thomas W.
      • Tsuchihashi Z.
      • Ruddy D.A.
      • Basava A.
      • Dormishian F.
      • Domingo Jr, R.
      • Ellis M.C.
      • Fullan A.
      • Hinton L.M.
      • Jones N.L.
      • Kimmel B.E.
      • Kronmal G.S.
      • Lauer P.
      • Lee V.K.
      • Loeb D.B.
      • Mapa F.A.
      • McClelland E.
      • Meyer N.C.
      • Mintier G.A.
      • Moeller N.
      • Moore T.
      • Morikang E.
      • Wolff R.K.
      A novel MHC class I-like gene is mutated in patients with hereditary haemochromatosis.
      • Pietrangelo A.
      Molecular insights into the pathogenesis of hereditary haemochromatosis.
      and iron sequestration during infection,
      • Flo T.H.
      • Smith K.D.
      • Sato S.
      • Rodriguez D.J.
      • Holmes M.A.
      • Strong R.K.
      • Akira S.
      • Aderem A.
      Lipocalin 2 mediates an innate immune response to bacterial infection by sequestrating iron.
      • Nairz M.
      • Theurl I.
      • Schroll A.
      • Theurl M.
      • Fritsche G.
      • Lindner E.
      • Seifert M.
      • Crouch M.-L.V.
      • Hantke K.
      • Akira S.
      • Fang F.C.
      • Weiss G.
      Absence of functional Hfe protects mice from invasive Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection via induction of lipocalin-2.
      were also examined for their potential role during the acute hypoferremic response using Hfe−/− and Lcn2−/− mice.

      Materials and Methods

      Animals

      All procedures were performed in accordance with the Canadian Council on Animal Care guidelines after approval by the institutional Animal Care Committee of the CHUM Research Center. C57BL/6 (B6) WT (WT) female mice aged between 6 and 8 weeks were purchased from Charles River Laboratories (Wilmington, MA). TRIF-deficient mice (C57BL/6J-Ticam1Lps2/J) were purchased from Jackson Laboratories (Bar Harbor, ME). MyD88−/− mice and Lcn2−/− mice with the B6 genetic background were kindly provided by Dr. Shizuo Akira (Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, and Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo, Japan) and were maintained as described previously.
      • Flo T.H.
      • Smith K.D.
      • Sato S.
      • Rodriguez D.J.
      • Holmes M.A.
      • Strong R.K.
      • Akira S.
      • Aderem A.
      Lipocalin 2 mediates an innate immune response to bacterial infection by sequestrating iron.
      • Adachi O.
      • Kawai T.
      • Takeda K.
      • Matsumoto M.
      • Tsutsui H.
      • Sakagami M.
      • Nakanishi K.
      • Akira S.
      Targeted disruption of the MyD88 gene results in loss of IL-1- and IL-18-mediated function.
      Hfe−/− mice in the 129/SvEvTac background were kindly provided by Dr. Nancy C. Andrews (Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA)
      • Levy J.E.
      • Montross L.K.
      • Cohen D.E.
      • Fleming M.D.
      • Andrews N.C.
      The C282Y mutation causing hereditary hemochromatosis does not produce a null allele.
      and were backcrossed onto the B6 background for 10 generations at our animal facility.
      • Constante M.
      • Jiang W.
      • Wang D.
      • Raymond V.A.
      • Bilodeau M.
      • Santos M.M.
      Distinct requirements for Hfe in basal and induced hepcidin levels in iron overload and inflammation.
      All animals used in the experiments were female and were permanently housed under specific pathogen-free conditions.

      Animal Treatments

      Mice were fed a commercial diet (Teklad Global 18% protein rodent diet; Harlan Teklad, Madison, WI). Where indicated, dietary iron overload was produced by giving 8-week-old mice the same commercial diet supplemented with 2.5% (w/w) carbonyl iron (Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO) for 2 weeks.
      • Miranda C.J.
      • Makui H.
      • Andrews N.C.
      • Santos M.M.
      Contributions of beta2-microglobulin-dependent molecules and lymphocytes to iron regulation: insights from HfeRag1(−/−) and beta2mRag1(−/−) double knock-out mice.
      Acute inflammation was produced by a single intraperitoneal injection of different TLR ligands: LPS, poly(I:C), or zymosan. The LPS (Escherichia coli serotype 055:B5; 1 μg/g unless otherwise indicated) was purchased from Sigma-Aldrich); Sterile poly(I:C), 12.5 μg/g (Endotoxin level: EndoFit < 0.001 endotoxin units (EU)/μg endotoxin); and zymosan (250 μg/g; Endotoxin level: EndoFit < 0.001 EU/μg endotoxin) were purchased from InvivoGen (San Diego, CA). In other experiments, mice were injected with recombinant mouse IL-6 (1 μg/g i.p.; Cedarlane Laboratories, Burlington, ON, Canada). Control mice were injected with an equivalent volume of sterile saline solution (0.9% NaCl).

      IL-6 Assay

      IL-6 protein levels in serum were measured using mouse IL-6 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits according to the manufacturer's instructions (R&D Systems, Minneapolis, MN).

      SDS-PAGE and Western Blot Analysis

      Protein concentrations were measured using a Pierce BCA protein assay kit (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Rockford, IL). Equivalent amounts of protein from tissue extracts were loaded to perform electrophoresis. For analysis of Lcn2 in serum, 1.5 μL of serum was boiled in loading buffer containing 4% SDS, 20% glycerol, and bromophenol blue for 5 minutes. Proteins were resolved on 12% SDS-PAGE gels and then were transferred onto nitrocellulose membranes (GE Healthcare; Amersham Biosciences, Baie d'Urfé, QC, Canada). The membranes were blocked with 5% nonfat dry milk solution and incubated with antibodies against ferroportin (a kind gift from Dr. Kostas Pantopoulos, McGill University),

      Gkouvatsos K, Wagner J, Papanikolaou G, Sebastiani G, Pantopoulos K: Conditional disruption of mouse Hfe2 gene: maintenance of systemic iron homeostasis requires hepatic but not skeletal muscle hemojuvelin. Hepatology 54:1800–1807

      HFE protein (Alpha Diagnostic, San Antonio, TX), Lcn2 (R&D Systems), and β-actin (Abcam, Cambridge, MA). To detect immunocomplexes formed, peroxidase-conjugated anti-rabbit IgG (Cell Signaling Technology, Danvers, MA), anti-mouse IgG (GE Healthcare, Little Chalfont, UK) or anti-goat IgG (R&D Systems) were used as secondary antibodies. Staining intensity was developed with an Amersham enhanced chemiluminescence system (GE Healthcare).

      Quantitative RT-PCR

      Total RNA from tissue samples was isolated by acid phenol extraction
      • Coppola G.
      • Choi S.-H.
      • Santos M.M.
      • Miranda C.J.
      • Tentler D.
      • Wexler E.M.
      • Pandolfo M.
      • Geschwind D.H.
      Gene expression profiling in frataxin deficient mice: microarray evidence for significant expression changes without detectable neurodegeneration.
      (TRIzol; Invitrogen, Burlington, ON, Canada) as recommended by the manufacturer, and reverse transcription was performed with an Omniscript RT-PCR system (Qiagen, Mississauga, ON, Canada). mRNA levels of selected genes were measured by real-time PCR with a Rotor Gene 3000 real-time DNA detection system (Montreal Biotech, Kirkland, QC, Canada) and QuantiTect SYBR Green I PCR kits (Qiagen), as described previously
      • Makui H.
      • Soares R.J.
      • Jiang W.
      • Constante M.
      • Santos M.M.
      Contribution of Hfe expression in macrophages to the regulation of hepatic hepcidin levels and iron loading.
      and using primer sequences listed in Table 1. Expression levels were normalized to the housekeeping gene β-actin (ACTB).
      Table 1Genes and Primer Sequences Used in Quantitative Real-Time PCR
      Gene (protein)ForwardReverse
      Actb (β-actin)5′-TGTTACCAACTGGGACGACA-3′5′-GGTGTTGAAGGTCTCAAA-3′
      Hamp (hepcidin)5′-AGAGCTGCAGCCTTTGCAC-3′5′-GAAGATGCAGATGGGGAAGT-3′
      Slc40a1 (ferroportin)5′-CCCATCCCCATAGTCTCTGT-3′5′-CTTGCAGCAACTGTGTCACC-3′
      Hfe (HFE protein)5′-TCTTGGATCCTCCACGTTTC-3′5′-TCATCCACATAGCCCCTAGC-3′
      Lcn2 (lipocalin-2)5′-CCTCAAGGACGACAACATCA-3′5′-ACCCATTCAGTTGTCAATGC-3′

      Serum Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity

      Serum iron and total iron-binding capacity were assessed by colorimetric assay with a Kodak Ektachem DT60 system (Johnson & Johnson, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Mississauga, ON, Canada), and transferrin saturation was calculated from these data.
      • Miranda C.J.
      • Makui H.
      • Andrews N.C.
      • Santos M.M.
      Contributions of beta2-microglobulin-dependent molecules and lymphocytes to iron regulation: insights from HfeRag1(−/−) and beta2mRag1(−/−) double knock-out mice.

      Measurement of Iron Concentration in the Spleen

      Splenic iron concentration was assessed by acid digestion of tissue samples, followed by iron quantification with atomic absorption spectroscopy.
      • Constante M.
      • Wang D.
      • Raymond V.A.
      • Bilodeau M.
      • Santos M.M.
      Repression of repulsive guidance molecule C during inflammation is independent of Hfe and involves tumor necrosis factor-alpha.

      Statistical Analysis

      All statistics were calculated using SigmaStat version 3.1 (Systat Software, Richmond, CA). Multiple comparisons were evaluated by one-way analysis of variance, followed by the Bonferroni multiple comparison test.

      Results

      TLR Agonists Trigger Hypoferremic Responses in Mice

      To investigate the involvement of TLRs and associated signaling pathways in hypoferremia, we first studied hypoferremic responses to activation of TLR2 (MyD88 signaling), TLR3 (TRIF signaling), and TLR4 (MyD88 and TRIF signaling) by treating mice with zymosan (TLR2 agonist), poly(I:C) (TLR3 agonist), or LPS (TLR4 agonist). Serum iron levels and transferrin saturation were significantly lower in mice treated with TLR ligands, compared with saline-treated controls (Figure 1, A and B). Thus, stimulation with TLR ligands resulted in a significant reduction of circulating iron. These results indicate that both MyD88 and TRIF signaling can generate an acute hypoferremic response.
      Figure thumbnail gr1
      Figure 1Distinct TLR ligands trigger acute hypoferremia in mice. Serum iron levels (A) and transferrin saturation (B) were measured in WT mice at 6 hours after treatment with zymosan, poly(I:C), or LPS. Data are expressed as means ± SEM. Results are representative of two similar experiments. *P < 0.05, **P < 0.001 versus saline-treated mice (Ctrl). n = 6 mice per group.

      MyD88 Signaling Is Required for Sustained LPS-Induced Hypoferremic Response

      To further understand the involvement of MyD88 and TRIF-mediated signaling in the hypoferremic response, we next examined the role of these two major pathways during LPS-induced acute hypoferremia using mice deficient in either MyD88 (MyD88−/−) or TRIF (TrifLps2/Lps2) protein. Mice were treated with LPS or saline solution, and serum iron levels and transferrin saturation were measured at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours after injection (Figure 2, A and B). The hypoferremic response in TrifLps2/Lps2 mice was very similar to that observed in WT mice, with a sharp drop in circulating iron that reached maximum reduction at 6 hours after treatment and persisted for up to 24 hours. However, although MyD88−/− mice responded with an initial drop of serum iron parameters up to 3 hours after LPS injection, they were unable to sustain this response. In fact, serum iron levels in MyD88-deficient mice started rising again after 3 hours and even increased significantly above basal levels after 24 hours (P < 0.05). Thus, lack of MyD88 signaling significantly impairs the hypoferremic response triggered by LPS.
      Figure thumbnail gr2
      Figure 2MyD88-deficient mice are unable to sustain the acute hypoferremic response induced by LPS. Serum iron levels (A), transferrin saturation (B), and hepatic hepcidin mRNA levels (C) were measured in WT, MyD88−/−, and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours after LPS or saline (Ctrl) injection. Data are expressed as means ± SEM. Results are representative of three independent experiments. *P < 0.05, **P < 0.001 versus saline-treated mice (Ctrl). P < 0.001 MyD88−/− versus WT or TrifLps2/Lps2 mice. n = 4 mice per group.

      Dual Signaling of MyD88 and TRIF Is Critical for Activation of the Iron Regulator Hepcidin during LPS-Induced Hypoferremia

      Having established that MyD88 is important for maintaining low circulating iron levels during the acute response to LPS, we investigated the mechanism associated with the suppressed hypoferremic response in MyD88−/− mice. To this end, we assessed levels of hepcidin, the major regulatory hormone involved in iron metabolism.
      • Ganz T.
      • Nemeth E.
      Iron sequestration and anemia of inflammation.
      Hepcidin levels rose significantly in WT mice 3 and 6 hours after LPS treatment (Figure 2C), confirming previous work demonstrating the ability of LPS to induce hepcidin.
      • Constante M.
      • Jiang W.
      • Wang D.
      • Raymond V.A.
      • Bilodeau M.
      • Santos M.M.
      Distinct requirements for Hfe in basal and induced hepcidin levels in iron overload and inflammation.
      • Nicolas G.
      • Chauvet C.
      • Viatte L.
      • Danan J.L.
      • Bigard X.
      • Devaux I.
      • Beaumont C.
      • Kahn A.
      • Vaulont S.
      The gene encoding the iron regulatory peptide hepcidin is regulated by anemia, hypoxia, and inflammation.
      Unexpectedly, both MyD88−/− and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice failed to up-regulate their hepatic hepcidin mRNA levels, with hepcidin levels remaining constant for up to 24 hours.
      To further confirm the need for both MyD88 and TRIF signaling to activate hepcidin, we measured hepatic hepcidin levels in WT and MyD88−/− mice stimulated with poly(I:C) to activate the TRIF pathway. Poly(I:C) caused a significant reduction in circulating iron, as judged by the reductions in serum iron and transferrin saturation seen at 6 hours after injection (Figure 3, A and B). In the liver and spleen, however, hepcidin mRNA levels remained unchanged in both mouse strains (Figure 3, C and D). Taken together, these results indicate that signaling through both adaptor molecules (ie, both MyD88 and TRIF) is necessary to achieve hepcidin induction, suggesting that there may be hepcidin-independent pathways participating in the acute hypoferremic response in mice.
      Figure thumbnail gr3
      Figure 3TLR3 activation induces acute hypoferremia in WT and MyD88−/− mice without hepcidin induction. Serum iron levels (A), transferrin saturation (B), and hepcidin mRNA levels in liver (C) and in spleen (D) of WT and MyD88−/− mice were measured at 1.5, 3, and 6 hours after saline (Ctrl) or poly(I:C) treatment. Data are expressed as means ± SEM. Results are representative of three similar experiments. *P < 0.05, **P < 0.001 versus saline-treated mice (Ctrl). n = 4 mice per group.

      IL-6 Production Is Suppressed in MyD88−/− and TrifLps2/Lps2 Mice, But the Ability to Induce Hepcidin in Response to IL-6 Is Retained

      Given that hepcidin elevation during inflammatory conditions has been shown to be mediated mainly by IL-6,
      • Nemeth E.
      • Rivera S.
      • Gabayan V.
      • Keller C.
      • Taudorf S.
      • Pedersen B.K.
      • Ganz T.
      IL-6 mediates hypoferremia of inflammation by inducing the synthesis of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin.
      we examined whether IL-6 production stimulated by LPS in MyD88−/− and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice was compromised and could thus explain the lack of hepcidin activation in these mice. Serum IL-6 levels, which peaked at 6 hours after treatment in WT mice, were indeed severely impaired in both MyD88−/− and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice (Figure 4A), with the lowest levels being observed in MyD88−/− mice. Next, to test whether MyD88−/− and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice maintain the ability to elevate hepcidin in response to IL-6, we treated mice with recombinant mouse IL-6. In all mouse strains, IL-6 treatment led to a mild but significant decrease in circulating iron, as well as to induction of hepcidin (Figure 4, B and C), indicating that MyD88−/− and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice retain the ability to regulate hepcidin levels in response to IL-6.
      Figure thumbnail gr4
      Figure 4MyD88−/− and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice fail to produce IL-6 after LPS treatment, but retain the ability to respond to IL-6 stimulation. A: IL-6 serum levels in WT, MyD88−/−, and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice were measured at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours after LPS or saline (Ctrl) injection. Results are representative of three independent experiments. Serum iron levels (B) and hepcidin mRNA levels in the liver (C) of WT, MyD88−/−, and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice were measured at 3 hours after saline (Ctrl) or IL-6 treatment. Data are expressed as means ± SEM. *P < 0.05, **P < 0.001 versus saline-treated mice (Ctrl); P < 0.05 WT versus MyD88−/− or TrifLps2/Lps2 mice. n = 4 mice per group.

      Suppression of the Iron Exporter Ferroportin by LPS Is Independent of MyD88 and TRIF Signaling

      Ferroportin, which is most likely the only cellular iron exporter in mammals,
      • Donovan A.
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      The iron exporter ferroportin/Slc40a1 is essential for iron homeostasis.
      also plays a major role during the hypoferremic response.
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      • Zon L.I.
      Positional cloning of zebrafish ferroportin1 identifies a conserved vertebrate iron exporter.
      • Abboud S.
      • Haile D.J.
      A novel mammalian iron-regulated protein involved in intracellular iron metabolism.
      • McKie A.T.
      • Marciani P.
      • Rolfs A.
      • Brennan K.
      • Wehr K.
      • Barrow D.
      • Miret S.
      • Bomford A.
      • Peters T.J.
      • Farzaneh F.
      • Hediger M.A.
      • Hentze M.W.
      • Simpson R.J.
      A novel duodenal iron-regulated transporter, IREG1, implicated in the basolateral transfer of iron to the circulation.
      Ferroportin mRNA levels have been reported to be down-regulated in macrophages during inflammation, thereby limiting iron efflux and increasing iron sequestration within macrophages.
      • Peyssonnaux C.
      • Zinkernagel A.S.
      • Datta V.
      • Lauth X.
      • Johnson R.S.
      • Nizet V.
      TLR4-dependent hepcidin expression by myeloid cells in response to bacterial pathogens.
      • Yang F.
      • Liu X.B.
      • Quinones M.
      • Melby P.C.
      • Ghio A.
      • Haile D.J.
      Regulation of reticuloendothelial iron transporter MTP1 (Slc11a3) by inflammation.
      We therefore measured ferroportin levels during the acute response to LPS in the spleen, a macrophage-rich organ that expresses high ferroportin levels.
      • Abboud S.
      • Haile D.J.
      A novel mammalian iron-regulated protein involved in intracellular iron metabolism.
      Both WT and MyD88−/− mice exhibited a sharp reduction of mRNA ferroportin expression between 1.5 and 12 hours after LPS treatment (Figure 5A). Furthermore, ferroportin protein levels also decreased in the spleens of both WT and MyD88−/− mice (Figure 5, B–D). To further investigate the requirement for TRIF signaling for ferroportin mRNA down-regulation, we elicited TRIF signaling through TLR3 by treating WT and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice with poly(I:C). Both mouse strains were able to significantly down-regulate ferroportin mRNA in the spleen at 6 hours after poly(I:C) injection (Figure 5E). Taken together, these results indicate that ferroportin down-regulation during acute hypoferremia is independent of MyD88 or TRIF signaling.
      Figure thumbnail gr5
      Figure 5MyD88 and TRIF signaling are not required for ferroportin down-regulation, but MyD88 is critical for iron storage in the spleen. Ferroportin mRNA (A) and protein levels (B) in the spleen of WT and MyD88−/− mice treated with saline (Ctrl) or LPS. Ferroportin protein expression levels were calculated relative to β-actin in WT (C) and MyD88−/− (D) mice using Western blots from two independent experiments. E: Ferroportin mRNA levels in the spleen of WT and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice at 6 hours after treatment with saline (Ctrl) or poly(I:C). Data are expressed as means ± SEM. Results are representative of three similar experiments. F: Splenic iron concentration in WT, TrifLps2/Lps2, and MyD88−/− mice was measured at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours after LPS or saline (Ctrl) injection. Data are expressed as means ± SEM. Results are representative of three similar experiments. *P < 0.05, **P < 0.001 versus saline-treated mice (Ctrl). n = 4 mice per group or time point.
      Next, we measured iron concentrations in the spleen, which represents a major site of iron storage during inflammation.
      • Theurl I.
      • Aigner E.
      • Theurl M.
      • Nairz M.
      • Seifert M.
      • Schroll A.
      • Sonnweber T.
      • Eberwein L.
      • Witcher D.R.
      • Murphy A.T.
      • Wroblewski V.J.
      • Wurz E.
      • Datz C.
      • Weiss G.
      Regulation of iron homeostasis in anemia of chronic disease and iron deficiency anemia: diagnostic and therapeutic implications.
      Iron levels rose significantly in WT and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice at 12 and 24 hours after LPS injection, albeit to a lesser extent in TrifLps2/Lps2 mice at 24 hours, compared with WT mice, but remained unchanged in MyD88−/− mice (Figure 5F).

      The Hereditary Hemochromatosis Gene (Hfe) Is Down-Regulated during the Acute Hypoferremic Response without Requiring MyD88 and TRIF Signaling

      HFE protein is involved in cellular iron uptake, at least in cell culture models,
      • Feder J.N.
      • Gnirke A.
      • Thomas W.
      • Tsuchihashi Z.
      • Ruddy D.A.
      • Basava A.
      • Dormishian F.
      • Domingo Jr, R.
      • Ellis M.C.
      • Fullan A.
      • Hinton L.M.
      • Jones N.L.
      • Kimmel B.E.
      • Kronmal G.S.
      • Lauer P.
      • Lee V.K.
      • Loeb D.B.
      • Mapa F.A.
      • McClelland E.
      • Meyer N.C.
      • Mintier G.A.
      • Moeller N.
      • Moore T.
      • Morikang E.
      • Wolff R.K.
      A novel MHC class I-like gene is mutated in patients with hereditary haemochromatosis.
      • Pietrangelo A.
      Molecular insights into the pathogenesis of hereditary haemochromatosis.
      through regulation of transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1)-mediated uptake of transferrin-bound iron,
      • Roy C.N.
      • Penny D.M.
      • Feder J.N.
      • Enns C.A.
      The hereditary hemochromatosis protein, HFE, specifically regulates transferrin-mediated iron uptake in HeLa cells.
      as well as in iron release.
      • Drakesmith H.
      • Sweetland E.
      • Schimanski L.
      • Edwards J.
      • Cowley D.
      • Ashraf M.
      • Bastin J.
      • Townsend A.R.M.
      The hemochromatosis protein HFE inhibits iron export from macrophages.
      Because hypoferremia is associated with removal of iron from circulation, we reasoned that HFE protein may participate in the development of hypoferremia by enhancing the ability of macrophages to take up iron via their interaction with TfR1. We therefore investigated whether HFE protein levels change in the spleens of mice treated with LPS. Hfe mRNA and HFE protein levels in the spleen were significantly down-regulated in both WT and MyD88−/− mice (Figure 6, A and B). Similarly, poly(I:C) treatment significantly reduced Hfe mRNA expression in the spleen of both WT and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice (Figure 6C). These results suggest that, similarly to ferroportin, HFE protein down-regulation during the acute hypoferremic response occurs independent of MyD88 and TRIF signaling pathways.
      Figure thumbnail gr6
      Figure 6The role of HFE protein in the hypoferremic response. Hfe mRNA (A) and HFE protein levels (B) in the spleen of WT and MyD88−/− mice treated with saline (Ctrl) or LPS. C: Hfe mRNA levels in the spleen of WT and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice at 6 hours after poly(I:C) treatment. Data are expressed as means ± SEM. Results are representative of three independent experiments. Serum iron levels were measured as concentration (D) and as fold change (E) at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours after LPS (0.1 μg/g) or saline (Ctrl) injection in WT and Hfe−/− mice fed a standard diet and in WT mice fed a standard diet supplemented with 2.5% carbonyl iron (WT + CI). Data are expressed as means ± SEM. Results are representative of two similar experiments. *P < 0.05, **P < 0.001 versus saline-treated mice (Ctrl) (A–D); P < 0.05 WT versus WT + CI or Hfe−/− mice (D). n = 4 mice per group (AC); n = 6 mice per group (D and E).

      The Reduction in Circulating Iron during the Hypoferremic Response Is Limited by Basal Iron Levels but Not by HFE Protein

      To further elucidate the potential role of HFE protein during hypoferremia, we used Hfe−/− mice and followed their response to LPS treatment. Hfe−/− mice retained the ability to lower their circulating iron after LPS treatment, albeit their serum iron values were consistently more elevated than those found in WT mice measured at the same time point (Figure 6D). Because HFE-deficient mice have higher basal levels of circulating iron than WT mice, we wondered whether the inability of Hfe−/− mice to reduce serum iron to approach values seen in WT mice in response to LPS was due to their higher initial iron levels. To address this question, we placed WT mice on an iron-enriched diet for 2 weeks and then treated them with LPS. Similarly to what we had observed in Hfe−/− mice, iron-loaded WT mice were still able to significantly reduce serum iron levels; however, levels remained consistently above those observed in mice that were not iron loaded (Figure 6D). Importantly, when data were analyzed in terms of fold changes, the reduction of serum iron levels was indistinguishable among WT mice maintained on the standard diet, iron-loaded WT mice, and Hfe−/− mice (Figure 6E). These results suggest that the initial, basal serum iron level (rather than the absence of Hfe expression) is the principal factor determining the differences observed between WT and Hfe−/− mice.

      MyD88 Signaling Is Critical for the Induction of the Iron Siderophore Binding Protein Lcn2

      During bacterial infection, mammalian spleen and macrophages synthesize abundant amounts of Lcn2, an antimicrobial protein that has been shown to mediate an innate immune response to bacterial infection by sequestering circulating iron.
      • Flo T.H.
      • Smith K.D.
      • Sato S.
      • Rodriguez D.J.
      • Holmes M.A.
      • Strong R.K.
      • Akira S.
      • Aderem A.
      Lipocalin 2 mediates an innate immune response to bacterial infection by sequestrating iron.
      • Nairz M.
      • Theurl I.
      • Schroll A.
      • Theurl M.
      • Fritsche G.
      • Lindner E.
      • Seifert M.
      • Crouch M.-L.V.
      • Hantke K.
      • Akira S.
      • Fang F.C.
      • Weiss G.
      Absence of functional Hfe protects mice from invasive Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection via induction of lipocalin-2.
      To determine whether iron sequestration by Lcn2 may contribute to the rapid drop in serum iron observed during acute inflammation, we first measured splenic mRNA and serum protein levels of Lcn2 in LPS-treated WT and MyD88−/− mice. Lcn2 production upon LPS stimulation was severely impaired in MyD88-deficient mice (Figure 7, A and B), indicating that Lcn2 induction requires MyD88 signaling.
      Figure thumbnail gr7
      Figure 7The role of Lcn2 in the hypoferremic response. Lcn2 mRNA in the spleen (A) and Lcn2 protein levels in the serum (B) of WT (+/+) and MyD88−/− (−/−) mice after LPS treatment. Data are expressed as means ± SEM. Results are representative of three independent experiments. C: Serum iron levels in WT and Lcn2−/− mice after LPS treatment. Data are expressed as means ± SEM. *P < 0.05, **P < 0.001 versus saline-treated mice (Ctrl); P < 0.05 WT versus MyD88−/− mice. n = 4 mice/group (A and B); n = 6 mice per group (C).
      Next, we sought to evaluate the importance of Lcn2 in the acute hypoferremic response triggered by LPS by using Lcn2-deficient mice. Serum iron levels in Lcn2−/− mice were indistinguishable from those of WT mice treated with LPS at each time point examined (Figure 7C). Thus, Lcn2 is not involved in the acute hypoferremic response elicited by LPS.
      Taken together, these results show that Lcn2 is regulated by a pathway largely dependent on MyD88 signaling. In the absence of bacterial siderophores, however, Lcn2 does not participate in iron sequestration during the acute hypoferremic response elicited by LPS.

      Discussion

      The present study was undertaken to clarify the role played by the TLR signal adaptor molecules MyD88 and TRIF in regulating the coordinated expression of genes involved in iron metabolism during the acute hypoferremic response. Here, we show that signaling through TLRs leads to acute hypoferremia and that mice with targeted disruption of MyD88 were unable to maintain this hypoferremic response. Furthermore, MyD88−/− mice manifested impairment in appropriately regulating the expression of hepcidin and Lcn2, as well as in the ability to store iron in the spleen during hypoferremia.

      Iron Uptake and HFE Protein-TfR1 Interaction

      Here we show for the first time that Hfe expression in the spleen is down-regulated during the acute hypoferremic response in vivo. Earlier studies have shown that HFE protein and transferrin compete for the same binding sites on TfR1,
      • Drakesmith H.
      • Sweetland E.
      • Schimanski L.
      • Edwards J.
      • Cowley D.
      • Ashraf M.
      • Bastin J.
      • Townsend A.R.M.
      The hemochromatosis protein HFE inhibits iron export from macrophages.
      • Giannetti A.M.
      • Bjorkman P.J.
      HFE and transferrin directly compete for transferrin receptor in solution and at the cell surface.
      and that the expression of Hfe in macrophages and monocytes inhibits iron uptake, an effect that depends on the ability of HFE protein to bind to TfR1.
      • Drakesmith H.
      • Sweetland E.
      • Schimanski L.
      • Edwards J.
      • Cowley D.
      • Ashraf M.
      • Bastin J.
      • Townsend A.R.M.
      The hemochromatosis protein HFE inhibits iron export from macrophages.
      Although it is difficult to extrapolate these previous observations to in vivo systemic effects during inflammation, reduction of HFE protein levels during hypoferremia may allow for more iron-bound transferrin to associate with TfR1, thereby enhancing the iron uptake capability of the cells. Thus, our results may suggest a novel mechanism, HFE protein suppression, by which macrophages may enhance transferrin-mediated iron uptake during the hypoferremic response. The proposed role for HFE protein in regulating in vivo iron uptake is in line with recent studies showing that Hfe expression impairs iron uptake in erythroid cells.
      • Ramos P.
      • Guy E.
      • Chen N.
      • Proenca C.C.
      • Gardenghi S.
      • Casu C.
      • Follenzi A.
      • Van Rooijen N.
      • Grady R.W.
      • de Sousa M.
      • Rivella S.
      Enhanced erythropoiesis in Hfe-KO mice indicates a role for Hfe in the modulation of erythroid iron homeostasis.
      Further investigations are needed to understand whether the expression levels of Hfe can affect iron uptake via TfR1 in macrophages in response to inflammation.
      TfR1, on the other hand, has been shown to be up-regulated through a pathway dependent on NF-κB induction in the early phases of hypoferremia
      • Tacchini L.
      • Gammella E.
      • De Ponti C.
      • Recalcati S.
      • Cairo G.
      Role of HIF-1 and NF-kappaB transcription factors in the modulation of transferrin receptor by inflammatory and anti-inflammatory signals.
      and down-regulated at later stages by proinflammatory cytokines.
      • Byrd T.F.
      • Horwitz M.A.
      Regulation of transferrin receptor expression and ferritin content in human mononuclear phagocytes Coordinate upregulation by iron transferrin and downregulation by interferon gamma.
      • Kim S.
      • Ponka P.
      Effects of interferon-gamma and lipopolysaccharide on macrophage iron metabolism are mediated by nitric oxide-induced degradation of iron regulatory protein 2.
      HFE protein down-regulation was also observed in the MyD88-deficient mice (which have impaired NF-κB activation and induction of NF-κB-dependent proinflammatory cytokines
      • Kawai T.
      • Adachi O.
      • Ogawa T.
      • Takeda K.
      • Akira S.
      Unresponsiveness of MyD88-deficient mice to endotoxin.
      ); this finding suggests that HFE protein suppression in response to inflammation is MyD88-independent. We also found that HFE protein down-regulation is TRIF-independent, because TrifLps2/Lps2 mice treated with poly(I:C) also down-regulate HFE protein expression in the spleen. Ultimately, the coordinated up-regulation of TfR1
      • Tacchini L.
      • Gammella E.
      • De Ponti C.
      • Recalcati S.
      • Cairo G.
      Role of HIF-1 and NF-kappaB transcription factors in the modulation of transferrin receptor by inflammatory and anti-inflammatory signals.
      and down-regulation of HFE protein may contribute to the early development of hypoferremia by increasing transferrin-mediated iron uptake from the blood.
      In the present study, circulating iron dropped significantly from basal levels in Hfe−/− mice treated with LPS. However, at each time point examined, Hfe−/− mice exhibited markedly higher serum iron levels, compared with WT mice. A similar outcome could be reproduced when WT mice were fed an iron-enriched diet, indicating that the reduction in circulating iron during the hypoferremic response is limited by the initial basal iron levels (rather than by the presence or absence of HFE protein). These results may help explain inconsistent findings among previous studies investigating the role of HFE protein during acute hypoferremia,
      • Constante M.
      • Jiang W.
      • Wang D.
      • Raymond V.A.
      • Bilodeau M.
      • Santos M.M.
      Distinct requirements for Hfe in basal and induced hepcidin levels in iron overload and inflammation.
      • Frazer D.M.
      • Wilkins S.J.
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      • McKie A.T.
      • Vulpe C.D.
      • Anderson G.J.
      Increased hepcidin expression and hypoferraemia associated with an acute phase response are not affected by inactivation of HFE.
      • Lee P.
      • Peng H.
      • Gelbart T.
      • Beutler E.
      The IL-6- and lipopolysaccharide-induced transcription of hepcidin in HFE-, transferrin receptor 2-, and beta 2-microglobulin-deficient hepatocytes.
      • Roy C.N.
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      • Andrews N.C.
      • Muckenthaler M.U.
      An Hfe-dependent pathway mediates hyposideremia in response to lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in mice.
      because the severity of iron accumulation in Hfe−/− mice has been shown to differ considerably with genetic background
      • Constante M.
      • Jiang W.
      • Wang D.
      • Raymond V.A.
      • Bilodeau M.
      • Santos M.M.
      Distinct requirements for Hfe in basal and induced hepcidin levels in iron overload and inflammation.
      • Fleming R.E.
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      Mouse strain differences determine severity of iron accumulation in Hfe knockout model of hereditary hemochromatosis.
      and may additionally be affected by the standard commercial diet used.
      • Nemeth E.
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      • Ganz T.
      IL-6 mediates hypoferremia of inflammation by inducing the synthesis of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin.
      Furthermore, our results suggest that only a limited amount of iron can be removed from the circulation during the immediate acute hypoferremic response.

      Iron Storage and Sequestration

      The inability to maintain the hypoferremic response in MyD88−/− mice may be associated with failure to appropriately store iron in macrophages, judging from the differences observed in iron accumulation in the spleen, a response that we found to be dependent on MyD88 signaling.
      Lcn2, an important protein involved in iron sequestration, is rapidly induced on TLR activation by a pathway that we show here to be dependent on MyD88 signaling. Although iron sequestration by Lcn2 has been shown to play an important role in limiting bacterial growth during the innate immune response,
      • Flo T.H.
      • Smith K.D.
      • Sato S.
      • Rodriguez D.J.
      • Holmes M.A.
      • Strong R.K.
      • Akira S.
      • Aderem A.
      Lipocalin 2 mediates an innate immune response to bacterial infection by sequestrating iron.
      here we show that the hypoferremic response triggered by LPS is very similar in Lcn2-deficient and WT mice. This result suggests that Lcn2 action during infection is directly related to its ability to bind iron-loaded bacterial siderophores and that, in contrast, binding of Lcn2 to endogenous siderophores
      • Devireddy L.R.
      • Hart D.O.
      • Goetz D.H.
      • Green M.R.
      A mammalian siderophore synthesized by an enzyme with a bacterial homolog involved in enterobactin production.

      Bao G, Clifton M, Hoette TM, Mori K, Deng S-X, Qiu A, Viltard M, Williams D, Paragas N, Leete T, Kulkarni R, Li X, Lee B, Kalandadze A, Ratner AJ, Pizarro JC, Schmidt-Ott KM, Landry DW, Raymond KN, Strong RK, Barasch J: Iron traffics in circulation bound to a siderocalin (Ngal)-catechol complex. Nat Chem Biol 6:602–609

      does not contribute to iron removal from the circulation. The importance of sequestering iron-siderophore complexes to limit iron availability to invading pathogens during the initial phase of the innate immunity response is highlighted by the finding that mice deficient in Lcn2 show substantially accelerated lethality when infected with E. coli.
      • Flo T.H.
      • Smith K.D.
      • Sato S.
      • Rodriguez D.J.
      • Holmes M.A.
      • Strong R.K.
      • Akira S.
      • Aderem A.
      Lipocalin 2 mediates an innate immune response to bacterial infection by sequestrating iron.

      Iron Release and the Ferroportin-Hepcidin Axis

      In contrast to WT mice, both MyD88- and TRIF-deficient mice were unable to up-regulate hepcidin expression on stimulation with LPS, but still retained the ability to induce hepcidin when injected with recombinant IL-6. Thus, the lack of hepcidin induction in the mutant mice seems to be attributable to the severe impairment in cytokine production (notably IL-6 in MyD88-deficient mice), as shown here and in previous studies.
      • Kawai T.
      • Adachi O.
      • Ogawa T.
      • Takeda K.
      • Akira S.
      Unresponsiveness of MyD88-deficient mice to endotoxin.
      Similarly, previous report indicates that TRIF-deficient mice exhibit impaired inflammatory cytokine production after LPS stimulation, and it has therefore been proposed that cooperation between the MyD88-dependent and MyD88-independent (TRIF-dependent) signaling pathways is required for TLR4-mediated inflammatory cytokine production.
      • Yamamoto M.
      • Sato S.
      • Hemmi H.
      • Hoshino K.
      • Kaisho T.
      • Sanjo H.
      • Takeuchi O.
      • Sugiyama M.
      • Okabe M.
      • Takeda K.
      • Akira S.
      Role of adaptor TRIF in the MyD88-independent Toll-like receptor signaling pathway.
      Although poly(I:C) treatment did not induce hepcidin expression in the liver or spleen in WT mice, splenic hepcidin has been shown to be induced in rainbow trout.
      • Chiou P.P.
      • Lin C.M.
      • Bols N.C.
      • Chen T.T.
      Characterization of virus/double-stranded RNA-dependent induction of antimicrobial peptide hepcidin in trout macrophages.
      Despite the lack of hepcidin induction, TRIF-deficient mice developed acute hypoferremia in response to LPS and to poly(I:C). These findings further support previous studies suggesting that hepcidin-independent mechanisms likely contribute to the development of acute hypoferremia induced by TLR agonists.
      • Constante M.
      • Jiang W.
      • Wang D.
      • Raymond V.A.
      • Bilodeau M.
      • Santos M.M.
      Distinct requirements for Hfe in basal and induced hepcidin levels in iron overload and inflammation.
      In contrast to hepcidin regulation, ferroportin suppression during the acute hypoferremic response occurs largely independent of MyD88 and TRIF signaling. In macrophages, ferroportin expression is regulated at several levels, including transcriptional regulation,
      • McKie A.T.
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      • Bomford A.
      • Peters T.J.
      • Farzaneh F.
      • Hediger M.A.
      • Hentze M.W.
      • Simpson R.J.
      A novel duodenal iron-regulated transporter, IREG1, implicated in the basolateral transfer of iron to the circulation.
      • Knutson M.D.
      • Vafa M.R.
      • Haile D.J.
      • Wessling-Resnick M.
      Iron loading and erythrophagocytosis increase ferroportin 1 (FPN1) expression in J774 macrophages.

      Harada N, Kanayama M, Maruyama A, Yoshida A, Tazumi K, Hosoya T, Mimura J, Toki T, Maher JM, Yamamoto M, Itoh K: Nrf2 regulates ferroportin 1-mediated iron efflux and counteracts lipopolysaccharide-induced ferroportin 1 mRNA suppression in macrophages. Arch Biochem Biophys 508:101–109

      Marro S, Chiabrando D, Messana E, Stolte J, Turco E, Tolosano E, Muckenthaler MU: Heme controls ferroportin1 (FPN1) transcription involving Bach1, Nrf2 and a MARE/ARE sequence motif at position -7007 of the FPN1 promoter. Haematologica 95:1261–1268

      translational regulation,
      • Abboud S.
      • Haile D.J.
      A novel mammalian iron-regulated protein involved in intracellular iron metabolism.
      • Nemeth E.
      • Tuttle M.S.
      • Powelson J.
      • Vaughn M.B.
      • Donovan A.
      • Ward D.M.
      • Ganz T.
      • Kaplan J.
      Hepcidin regulates cellular iron efflux by binding to ferroportin and inducing its internalization.
      • Lymboussaki A.
      • Pignatti E.
      • Montosi G.
      • Garuti C.
      • Haile D.J.
      • Pietrangelo A.
      The role of the iron responsive element in the control of ferroportin1/IREG1/MTP1 gene expression.
      and post-translational regulation by hepcidin.
      • Nemeth E.
      • Tuttle M.S.
      • Powelson J.
      • Vaughn M.B.
      • Donovan A.
      • Ward D.M.
      • Ganz T.
      • Kaplan J.
      Hepcidin regulates cellular iron efflux by binding to ferroportin and inducing its internalization.
      Earlier studies have shown that ferroportin expression in macrophages is regulated at the level of mRNA stability during inflammation. This has been reported to occur by a mechanism involving iron regulatory protein 1 (IRP1) binding to the iron-responsive element (IRE)
      • Yang F.
      • Liu X.B.
      • Quinones M.
      • Melby P.C.
      • Ghio A.
      • Haile D.J.
      Regulation of reticuloendothelial iron transporter MTP1 (Slc11a3) by inflammation.
      • Liu X.B.
      • Hill P.
      • Haile D.J.
      Role of the ferroportin iron-responsive element in iron and nitric oxide dependent gene regulation.
      found at the 5′ site of the ferroportin transcript.
      • McKie A.T.
      • Marciani P.
      • Rolfs A.
      • Brennan K.
      • Wehr K.
      • Barrow D.
      • Miret S.
      • Bomford A.
      • Peters T.J.
      • Farzaneh F.
      • Hediger M.A.
      • Hentze M.W.
      • Simpson R.J.
      A novel duodenal iron-regulated transporter, IREG1, implicated in the basolateral transfer of iron to the circulation.
      The IRP1/IRE translation block of ferroportin was found to be mediated by nitric oxide,
      • Liu X.B.
      • Hill P.
      • Haile D.J.
      Role of the ferroportin iron-responsive element in iron and nitric oxide dependent gene regulation.
      an important physiological regulator produced by macrophages during inflammation. However, ferritin genes, which also have an IRE located at the 5′ site, are regulated in the opposite direction by nitric oxide; that is, ferritin synthesis substantially increases and leads to increased sequestration of intracellular iron in ferritin.
      • Kim S.
      • Ponka P.
      Nitrogen monoxide-mediated control of ferritin synthesis: implications for macrophage iron homeostasis.
      Thus, it is not clear how the IRP1/IRE mechanism may contribute to ferroportin mRNA repression during the initial phase of the inflammatory response. Nevertheless, once intracellular iron levels rise, deactivation of IRPs by iron would be expected to promote translation of ferroportin, and it is at this later phase of the inflammatory response that hepcidin may be envisioned to play a critical role in maintaining ferroportin repression.
      • Nemeth E.
      • Tuttle M.S.
      • Powelson J.
      • Vaughn M.B.
      • Donovan A.
      • Ward D.M.
      • Ganz T.
      • Kaplan J.
      Hepcidin regulates cellular iron efflux by binding to ferroportin and inducing its internalization.
      Ultimately, as with HFE protein, the ability to rapidly down-regulate ferroportin mRNA levels, which is retained in both MyD88−/− and TrifLps2/Lps2 mice, may contribute to the initial drop in serum iron levels seen in these mice.

      MyD88-Dependent and -Independent Regulation of Iron Homeostasis during Inflammation

      The present results suggest that the acute hypoferremic response may be regulated in at least two phases. The immediate phase allows for a rapid decrease in circulating iron and, because it is also observed in MyD88−/− mice, it does not depend on NF-κB activation (MyD88- and TRIF-independent) and subsequent proinflammatory cytokine production. Iron removal from the circulation during this early phase may be mediated by the coordinated control of augmented cellular iron uptake via TfR1 due to HFE protein down-regulation, and limited iron efflux through direct suppression of ferroportin expression. Indeed, suppression of HFE protein and ferroportin expression was also observed in MyD88−/− mice; however, because hypoferremia is not maintained in MyD88−/− mice compared with WT mice, these reductions are not sufficient to sustain the hypoferremic response.
      The second phase is largely MyD88- and TRIF-dependent and requires NF-κB activation. Binding of LPS to TLR4 initially transmits signals for the early-phase activation of NF-κB by recruiting MyD88 (MyD88-dependent pathway). The TLR4-LPS complex is then internalized and retained in the endosome, where it triggers signal transduction by recruiting TRIF, which leads to activation of late-phase NF-κB and IRF3 for induction of type I interferon (TRIF-dependent pathway).
      • Kumar H.
      • Kawai T.
      • Akira S.
      Pathogen recognition by the innate immune system.
      Both early- and late-phase activation of NF-κB are required for the induction of inflammatory cytokines (eg, IL-6 and TNF-α), which in turn activate the expression of genes involved in the regulation of iron export (hepcidin) and sequestration (Lcn2). Binding of poly(I:C) to TLR3 activates the TRIF-dependent pathway to induce type I interferon and proinflammatory cytokines.
      Additional removal of circulating siderophore-loaded iron from invading pathogens may ensue by compatible binding of bacterial siderophores to Lcn2, and further repression of ferroportin protein can be achieved through hepcidin induction. Progressive accumulation of iron within macrophages becomes detectable by 12 hours after LPS injection, as measured in spleen samples using atomic absorption spectroscopy. When sustained over long periods of time, this response may lead to the development of functional iron deficiency, with consequent limited erythropoiesis (as seen in anemia of chronic disease).
      In summary, the present study provides evidence that it may be possible to interfere with the progression of hypoferremia by suppressing TLR-induced inflammatory pathways. We propose that targeting specific TLR signaling pathways by affecting the function of adaptor molecules may provide new and complementary strategies to counteract iron sequestration within macrophages triggered by immune system activation.

      Acknowledgments

      We thank Dr. Peter P. Liu (University of Toronto, Canada) for help with the MyD88−/− mouse strain and Marco Constante (Center for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain) for critically reviewing the manuscript.

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