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1.  Hepatoprotective Potential of Caesalpinia crista against Iron-Overload-Induced Liver Toxicity in Mice 
The present study was carried out to evaluate the ameliorating effect of Caesalpinia crista Linn. (CCME) extract on iron-overload-induced liver injury. Iron overload was induced by intraperitoneal administration of iron dextran into mice. CCME attenuated the percentage increase in liver iron and serum ferritin levels when compared to control group. CCME also showed a dose-dependent inhibition of lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation, and liver fibrosis. The serum enzyme markers were found to be less, whereas enhanced levels of liver antioxidant enzymes were detected in CCME-treated group. In presence of CCME, the reductive release of ferritin iron was increased significantly. Furthermore, CCME exhibited DPPH radical scavenging and protection against Fe2+-mediated oxidative DNA damage. The current study confirmed the hepatoprotective effect of CCME against the model hepatotoxicant iron overload and the activity is likely related to its potent antioxidant and iron-chelating property.
PMCID: PMC3418686  PMID: 22919421
2.  Co-Administration of Silymarin and Deferoxamine against Kidney, Liver and Heart Iron Deposition in Male Iron Overload Rat Model 
Tissue iron deposition may disturb functions of the organs. In many diseases like thalassemia, the patients suffer from iron deposition in kidney and heart tissues. Deferoxamine (DF) is a synthetic iron chelator and silymarin (SM) is an antioxidant and also a candidate for iron chelating. This study was designed to investigate the effect of DF and SM combination against kidney and heart iron deposition in an iron overload rat model.
Male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to 5 groups. The iron overloading was performed by iron dextran 100 mg/kg/day every other day during 2 weeks and in the 3rd week, iron dextran was discontinued and the animals were treated daily with combination of SM (200 mg/kg/day, i.p.) and DF (50 mg/kg/day, i.p.) (group 1), SM (group 2), DF (group 3) and saline (group 4). Group 5 received saline during the experiment. Finally, blood samples were obtained and kidney, heart and liver were immediately removed and prepared for histopathological procedures.
The results indicated no significant difference in kidney function and endothelial function biomarkers between the groups. However, combination of SM and DF did not attenuate the iron deposition in the kidney, liver and heart. DF alone, rather than DF and SM combination, significantly reduced the serum level of malondialdehyde (P < 0.05). Co-administration of SM and DF significantly increased the serum level of ferritin (P < 0.05).
DF and SM may be potentially considered as iron chelators. However, combination of these two agents did not provide a protective effect against kidney, liver and heart iron deposition.
PMCID: PMC3915463  PMID: 24555000
Deferoxamine; heart; iron deposition; kidney; liver; silymarin
3.  Antitussive Efficacy and Safety Profile of Ethyl Acetate Fraction of Terminalia chebula 
ISRN Pharmacology  2013;2013:256934.
Antitussive effects of ethyl acetate fraction of Terminalia chebula on sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas induced cough have been examined in mice. Safety profile of Terminalia chebula was established by determining LD50 and acute neurotoxicity. The result showed that extract of Terminalia chebula dose dependently suppressed SO2 gas induced cough in mice. Terminalia chebula, after i.p. administration at dose level 500 mg/kg, offered maximum cough suppressive effects; that is, number of coughs at 60 min was 12 ± 1.52 (mean ± SEM) as compared to codeine 10 mg/kg; i.p., dextromethorphan 10 mg/kg; i.p., and saline, having frequency of cough 10.375 ± 0.866, 12.428 ± 0.81, and 46 ± 2.61, respectively. LD50 value of Terminalia chebula was approximately 1265 mg/kg, respectively. No sign of neural impairment was observed at antitussive doses of extract. Antitussive effect of Terminalia chebula was partly reversed with treatment by naloxone (3 mg/kg; s.c.) while rimcazole (3 mg/kg; s.c.) did not antagonize its cough suppression activity. This may suggest that opioid receptors partially contribute in antitussive action of Terminalia chebula. Along with this, the possibility of presence of single or multiple mechanisms activated by several different pharmacological actions (mainly anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, spasmolytic, antibacterial, and antiphlegmatic) could not be eliminated.
PMCID: PMC3760113  PMID: 24024039
4.  In vitro evaluation on the antioxidant capacity of triethylchebulate, an aglycone from Terminalia chebula Retz fruit 
Indian Journal of Pharmacology  2011;43(3):320-323.
To evaluate the antioxidant and free-radical scavenging activities of triethylchebulate (TCL), an aglycone isolated from the fruit of Terminalia chebula Retz.
Materials and Methods:
Microsomes, mitochondria and red blood cells (RBCs) were isolated from rat liver. The antioxidant capacities were evaluated by determining the inhibitory effects of TCL on lipid peroxidation, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced RBCs hemolysis and RBCs autoxidative hemolysis. The free-radical scavenging activities were evaluated by 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method and 2´,7´-dichlorodihydrofluorescin diacetate (DCFH2-DA) assay.
TCL significantly inhibited FeSO4/Cys-induced microsomes lipid peroxidation and protected both H2O2--induced RBCs hemolysis and RBCs auto-hemolysis in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, TCL demonstrated potent DPPH free-radical scavenging ability with IC50 at 2.4×10-5 M. In addition, TCL also moderately suppressed azide-induced mitochondria ROS formation.
These results demonstrated that TCL was a strong antioxidant and free-radical scavenger, which might contribute to the anti-oxidative ability of Terminalia chebula Retz.
PMCID: PMC3113387  PMID: 21713099
Anti-oxidant; hemolysis; lipid peroxidation; reactive oxygen species; Terminalia chebula Retz; triethylchebulate
5.  Comparative study of the antioxidant and reactive oxygen species scavenging properties in the extracts of the fruits of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia belerica and Emblica officinalis 
Cellular damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been implicated in several diseases, and hence natural antioxidants have significant importance in human health. The present study was carried out to evaluate the in vitro antioxidant and reactive oxygen species scavenging activities of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia belerica and Emblica officinalis fruit extracts.
The 70% methanol extracts were studied for in vitro total antioxidant activity along with phenolic and flavonoid contents and reducing power. Scavenging ability of the extracts for radicals like DPPH, hydroxyl, superoxide, nitric oxide, hydrogen peroxide, peroxynitrite, singlet oxygen, hypochlorous acid were also performed to determine the potential of the extracts.
The ability of the extracts of the fruits in exhibiting their antioxative properties follow the order T. chebula >E. officinalis >T. belerica. The same order is followed in their flavonoid content, whereas in case of phenolic content it becomes E. officinalis >T. belerica >T. chebula. In the studies of free radicals' scavenging, where the activities of the plant extracts were inversely proportional to their IC50 values, T. chebula and E. officinalis were found to be taking leading role with the orders of T. chebula >E. officinalis >T. belerica for superoxide and nitric oxide, and E. officinalis >T. belerica >T. chebula for DPPH and peroxynitrite radicals. Miscellaneous results were observed in the scavenging of other radicals by the plant extracts, viz., T. chebula >T. belerica >E. officinalis for hydroxyl, T. belerica >T. chebula >E. officinalis for singlet oxygen and T. belerica >E. officinalis >T. chebula for hypochlorous acid. In a whole, the studied fruit extracts showed quite good efficacy in their antioxidant and radical scavenging abilities, compared to the standards.
The evidences as can be concluded from the study of the 70% methanol extract of the fruits of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia belerica and Emblica officinalis, imposes the fact that they might be useful as potent sources of natural antioxidant.
PMCID: PMC2887379  PMID: 20462461
6.  Hydroxyurea Could Be a Good Clinically Relevant Iron Chelator 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82928.
Our previous study showed a reduction in serum ferritin of β-thalassemia patients on hydroxyurea therapy. Here we aimed to evaluate the efficacy of hydroxyurea alone and in combination with most widely used iron chelators like deferiprone and deferasirox for reducing iron from experimentally iron overloaded mice. 70 BALB/c mice received intraperitonial injections of iron-sucrose. The mice were then divided into 8 groups and were orally given hydroxyurea, deferiprone or deferasirox alone and their combinations for 4 months. CBC, serum-ferritin, TBARS, sTfr and hepcidin were evaluated before and after iron overload and subsequently after 4 months of drug therapy. All animals were then killed. Iron staining of the heart and liver tissue was done using Perl’s Prussian Blue stain. Dry weight of iron in the heart and liver was determined by atomic absorption spectrometry. Increased serum-ferritin, TBARS, hepcidin and dry weight of iron in the liver and heart showed a significant reduction in groups treated with iron chelators with maximum reduction in the group treated with a combination of deferiprone, deferasirox and hydroxyurea. Thus hydroxyurea proves its role in reducing iron from iron overloaded mice. The iron chelating effect of these drugs can also be increased if given in combination.
PMCID: PMC3857323  PMID: 24349400
7.  Rapid monitoring of iron-chelating therapy in thalassemia major by a new cardiovascular MR measure: the reduced transverse relaxation rate 
NMR in biomedicine  2010;24(7):771-777.
In iron overload, almost all the excess iron is stored intracellularly as rapidly mobilizable ferritin iron and slowly exchangeable hemosiderin iron. Increases in cytosolic iron may produce oxidative damage that ultimately results in cardiomyocyte dysfunction. Because intracellular ferritin iron is evidently in equilibrium with the low-molecular-weight cytosolic iron pool, measurements of ferritin iron potentially provide a clinically useful indicator of changes in cytosolic iron. The cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) index of cardiac iron used clinically, the effective transverse relaxation rate (R2*), is principally influenced by hemosiderin iron and changes only slowly over several months, even with intensive iron-chelating therapy. Another conventional CMR index of cardiac iron, the transverse relaxation rate (R2), is sensitive to both hemosiderin iron and ferritin iron. We have developed a new MRI measure, the ‘reduced transverse relaxation rate’ (RR2), and have proposed in previous studies that this measure is primarily sensitive to ferritin iron and largely independent of hemosiderin iron in phantoms mimicking ferritin iron and human liver explants. We hypothesized that RR2 could detect changes produced by 1 week of iron-chelating therapy in patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia. We imaged 10 patients with thalassemia major at 1.5 T in mid-ventricular short-axis planes of the heart, initially after suspending iron-chelating therapy for 1 week and subsequently after resuming oral deferasirox. After resuming iron-chelating therapy, significant decreases were observed in the mean myocardial RR2 (7.8%, p < 0.01) and R2 (5.5%, p < 0.05), but not in R2* (1.7%, p > 0.90). Although the difference between changes in RR2 and R2 was not significant (p > 0.3), RR2 was consistently more sensitive than R2 (and R2*) to the resumption of iron-chelating therapy, as judged by the effect sizes of relaxation rate differences detected. Although further studies are needed, myocardial RR2 may be a promising investigational method for the rapid assessment of the effects of iron-chelating therapy in the heart.
PMCID: PMC3138893  PMID: 21190261
MRI; heart; cardiomyopathy; iron chelation; R2
8.  A Nanoparticulate Ferritin-Core Mimetic Is Well Taken Up by HuTu 80 Duodenal Cells and Its Absorption in Mice Is Regulated by Body Iron12 
The Journal of Nutrition  2014;144(12):1896-1902.
Background: Iron (Fe) deficiency anemia remains the largest nutritional deficiency disorder worldwide. How the gut acquires iron from nano Fe(III), especially at the apical surface, is incompletely understood.
Objective: We developed a novel Fe supplement consisting of nanoparticulate tartrate-modified Fe(III) poly oxo-hydroxide [here termed nano Fe(III)], which mimics the Fe oxide core of ferritin and effectively treats iron deficiency anemia in rats.
Methods: We determined transfer to the systemic circulation of nano Fe(III) in iron-deficient and iron-sufficient outbread Swiss mouse strain (CD1) mice with use of 59Fe-labeled material. Iron deficiency was induced before starting the Fe-supplementation period through reduction of Fe concentrations in the rodent diet. A control group of iron-sufficient mice were fed a diet with adequate Fe concentrations throughout the study. Furthermore, we conducted a hemoglobin repletion study in which iron-deficient CD1 mice were fed for 7 d a diet supplemented with ferrous sulfate (FeSO4) or nano Fe(III). Finally, we further probed the mechanism of cellular acquisition of nano Fe(III) by assessing ferritin formation, as a measure of Fe uptake and utilization, in HuTu 80 duodenal cancer cells with targeted inhibition of divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) and duodenal cytochrome b (DCYTB) before exposure to the supplemented iron sources. Differences in gene expression were assessed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
Results: Absorption (means ± SEMs) of nano Fe(III) was significantly increased in iron-deficient mice (58 ± 19%) compared to iron-sufficient mice (18 ± 17%) (P = 0.0001). Supplementation of the diet with nano Fe(III) or FeSO4 significantly increased hemoglobin concentrations in iron-deficient mice (170 ± 20 g/L, P = 0.01 and 180 ± 20 g/L, P = 0.002, respectively). Hepatic hepcidin mRNA expression reflected the nonheme-iron concentrations of the liver and was also comparable for both nano Fe(III)– and FeSO4-supplemented groups, as were iron concentrations in the spleen and duodenum. Silencing of the solute carrier family 11 (proton-coupled divalent metal ion transporter), member 2 (Slc11a2) gene (DMT1) significantly inhibited ferritin formation from FeSO4 (P = 0.005) but had no effect on uptake and utilization of nano Fe(III). Inhibiting DCYTB with an antibody also had no effect on uptake and utilization of nano Fe(III) but significantly inhibited ferritin formation from ferric nitrilotriacetate chelate (Fe-NTA) (P = 0.04). Similarly, cellular ferritin formation from nano Fe(III) was unaffected by the Fe(II) chelator ferrozine, which significantly inhibited uptake and utilization from FeSO4 (P = 0.009) and Fe-NTA (P = 0.005).
Conclusions: Our data strongly support direct nano Fe(III) uptake by enterocytes as an efficient mechanism of dietary iron acquisition, which may complement the known Fe(II)/DMT1 uptake pathway.
PMCID: PMC4230207  PMID: 25342699
cellular uptake; iron absorption; iron deficiency anemia; iron supplementation; tartrate-modified Fe(III) poly oxo-hydroxide
9.  Taurine supplementation reduces oxidative stress and protects the liver in an iron-overload murine model 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2014;10(5):2255-2262.
We previously demonstrated that iron overload induces liver damage by causing the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Taurine is a potent free radical scavenger that attenuates the damage caused by excessive oxygen free radicals. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate whether taurine could reduce the hepatotoxicity of iron overload with regard to ROS production. Mice were intraperitoneally injected with iron 5 days/week for 13 weeks to achieve iron overload. It was found that iron overload resulted in liver dysfunction, increased apoptosis and elevated oxidative stress. Taurine supplementation increased liver taurine levels by 40% and led to improved liver function, as well as a reduction in apoptosis, ROS formation and mitochondrial swelling and an attenuation in the loss of the mitochondrial membrane potential. Treatment with taurine mediated a reduction in oxidative stress in iron-overloaded mice, attenuated liver lipid peroxidation, elevated antioxidant enzyme activities and maintained reduced glutathione levels. These results indicate that taurine reduces iron-induced hepatic oxidative stress, preserves liver function and inhibits hepatocyte apoptosis. Therefore, taurine may be a potential therapeutic drug to reduce liver damage caused by iron overload.
PMCID: PMC4199407  PMID: 25201602
taurine; iron overload; liver; oxidative stress; apoptosis
10.  Binding of serum ferritin to concanavalin A in patients with iron overload and with chronic liver disease. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1982;35(5):481-486.
Total serum ferritin and the proportion of serum ferritin binding to concanavalin A (glycosylated ferritin) was measured in 18 healthy volunteers and in 84 patients, eight with primary haemochromatosis, 43 with beta-thalassaemia major and secondary iron overload and 33 with chronic liver diseases without iron overload. The total serum ferritin was either equally or even more closely related than either the non-binding or the concanavalin A binding ferritin, to the liver iron concentration in all patients with iron overload, and with the units of blood transfused in non-chelated thalassaemic patients. The total serum ferritin showed a significant correlation with serum aminotransferase for the group of 84 patients. In the thalassaemic patients the ferritin binding to concanavalin A also correlated with aminotransferase. However, in the other groups it was the ferritin not binding to concanavalin A which showed a significant correlation with aminotransferase activity. These results suggest that measuring the fraction of serum ferritin which binds to concanavalin A does not offer any advantage over estimation of the total serum ferritin concentration in the assessment of iron stores in patients wit iron overload and liver damage.
PMCID: PMC497701  PMID: 7085891
11.  Efficacy and safety of deferasirox, an oral iron chelator, in heavily iron-overloaded patients with β-thalassaemia: the ESCALATOR study 
European Journal of Haematology  2009;82(6):458-465.
Many patients with transfusional iron overload are at risk for progressive organ dysfunction and early death and poor compliance with older chelation therapies is believed to be a major contributing factor. Phase II/III studies have shown that oral deferasirox 20–30 mg/kg/d reduces iron burden, depending on transfusional iron intake.
The prospective, open-label, 1-yr ESCALATOR study in the Middle East was designed to evaluate once-daily deferasirox in patients ≥2 yr with β-thalassaemia major and iron overload who were previously chelated with deferoxamine and/or deferiprone. Most patients began treatment with deferasirox 20 mg/kg/d; doses were adjusted in response to markers of over- or under-chelation. The primary endpoint was treatment success, defined as a reduction in liver iron concentration (LIC) of ≥3 mg Fe/g dry weight (dw) if baseline LIC was ≥10 mg Fe/g dw, or final LIC of 1–7 mg Fe/g dw for patients with baseline LIC of 2 to <10 mg Fe/g dw.
Overall, 233/237 enrolled patients completed 1 yr’s treatment. Mean baseline LIC was 18.0 ± 9.1 mg Fe/g dw, while median serum ferritin was 3356 ng/mL. After 1 yr’s deferasirox treatment, the intent-to-treat population experienced a significant treatment success rate of 57.0% (P = 0.016) and a mean reduction in LIC of 3.4 mg Fe/g dw. Changes in serum ferritin appeared to parallel dose increases at around 24 wk. Most patients (78.1%) underwent dose increases above 20 mg/kg/d, primarily to 30 mg/kg/d. Drug-related adverse events were mostly mild to moderate and resolved without discontinuing treatment.
The results of the ESCALATOR study in primarily heavily iron-overloaded patients confirm previous observations in patients with β-thalassaemia, highlighting the importance of timely deferasirox dose adjustments based on serum ferritin levels and transfusional iron intake to ensure patients achieve their therapeutic goal of maintenance or reduction in iron burden.
PMCID: PMC2730551  PMID: 19187278
iron chelation; deferasirox; β-thalassaemia; transfusional iron overload
12.  Iron Overload Favors the Elimination of Leishmania infantum from Mouse Tissues through Interaction with Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen Species 
Iron plays a central role in host-parasite interactions, since both intervenients need iron for survival and growth, but are sensitive to iron-mediated toxicity. The host's iron overload is often associated with susceptibility to infection. However, it has been previously reported that iron overload prevented the growth of Leishmania major, an agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis, in BALB/c mice. In order to further clarify the impact of iron modulation on the growth of Leishmania in vivo, we studied the effects of iron supplementation or deprivation on the growth of L. infantum, the causative agent of Mediterranean visceral leishmaniasis, in the mouse model. We found that dietary iron deficiency did not affect the protozoan growth, whereas iron overload decreased its replication in the liver and spleen of a susceptible mouse strain. The fact that the iron-induced inhibitory effect could not be seen in mice deficient in NADPH dependent oxidase or nitric oxide synthase 2 suggests that iron eliminates L. infantum in vivo through the interaction with reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Iron overload did not significantly alter the mouse adaptive immune response against L. infantum. Furthermore, the inhibitory action of iron towards L. infantum was also observed, in a dose dependent manner, in axenic cultures of promastigotes and amastigotes. Importantly, high iron concentrations were needed to achieve such effects. In conclusion, externally added iron synergizes with the host's oxidative mechanisms of defense in eliminating L. infantum from mouse tissues. Additionally, the direct toxicity of iron against Leishmania suggests a potential use of this metal as a therapeutic tool or the further exploration of iron anti-parasitic mechanisms for the design of new drugs.
Author Summary
Leishmania are important vector-borne protozoan pathogens that cause different forms of disease, ranging from cutaneous self-healing lesions to life-threatening visceral infection. L. infantum is the most common species causing visceral leishmaniasis in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Iron plays a critical role in host-pathogen interactions. Both the microorganism and its host need iron for growth. However, iron may promote the formation of toxic reactive oxygen species, which contribute to pathogen elimination, but also to host tissue pathology. We investigated the effect of manipulating host iron status on the outcome of L. infantum infection, using the mouse as an experimental model. We found that dietary iron deprivation had no effect on L. infantum growth, and iron-dextran injection decreased the multiplication of L. infantum in mouse organs. The fact that this anti-parasitic effect of iron was not observed in mice genetically deficient in superoxide and nitric oxide synthesis pathways indicates that iron is likely to act in synergy with reactive oxygen and nitrogen species produced by the host's macrophages. This work clearly shows that iron supplementation improves the host's capacity to eliminate L. infantum parasites and suggests that iron may be further explored as a therapeutic tool to fight this type of infection.
PMCID: PMC3573095  PMID: 23459556
13.  Hepatic but not brain iron is rapidly chelated by deferasirox in aceruloplasminemia due to a novel gene mutation 
Journal of Hepatology  2010;53(6):1101-1107.
Background & Aims
Aceruloplasminemia is a rare autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease associated with brain and liver iron accumulation which typically presents with movement disorders, retinal degeneration, and diabetes mellitus. Ceruloplasmin is a multi-copper ferroxidase that is secreted into plasma and facilitates cellular iron export and iron binding to transferrin.
A novel homozygous ceruloplasmin gene mutation, c.2554+1G>T, was identified as the cause of aceruloplasminemia in three affected siblings. Two siblings presented with movement disorders and diabetes. Complementary DNA sequencing showed that this mutation causes skipping of exon 14 and deletion of amino acids 809–852 while preserving the open reading frame. Western blotting of liver extracts and sera of affected patients showed retention of the abnormal protein in the liver. Aceruloplasminemia was associated with severe brain and liver iron overload, where hepatic mRNA expression of the iron hormone hepcidin was increased, corresponding to the degree of iron overload. Hepatic iron concentration normalized after 3 and 5 months of iron chelation therapy with deferasirox, which was also associated with reduced insulin demands. During short term treatment there was no clinical or imaging evidence for significant effects on brain iron overload.
Aceruloplasminemia can show an incomplete clinical penetrance but is invariably associated with iron accumulation in the liver and in the brain. Iron accumulation in aceruloplasminemia is a result of defective cellular iron export, where hepcidin regulation is appropriate for the degree of iron overload. Iron chelation with deferasirox was effective in mobilizing hepatic iron but has no effect on brain iron.
PMCID: PMC2987498  PMID: 20801540
ACP, aceruloplasmin; CP, ceruloplasmin; GPI, glycosylphosphatidylinositol; PCR, polymerase chain reaction; RT-PCR, reverse transcription PCR; MRI, magnetic resonance imaging; NAFLD, non alcoholic fatty liver disease; DMS, dysmetabolic siderosis; Bp, basepairs; Metabolic liver disease; Iron chelation; Iron overload; Fibrosis; Neurodegeneration
14.  Clinical outcomes of transfusion-associated iron overload in patients with refractory chronic anemia 
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical outcomes of transfusion-associated iron overload in patients with chronic refractory anemia.
Clinical manifestations, main organ function, results of computed tomography (CT), endocrine evaluation, and serum ferritin levels were analyzed retrospectively in 13 patients who were transfusion-dependent for more than 1 year (receiving >50 units of red blood cells) to determine the degree of iron overload and efficacy of iron-chelating therapy.
Serum ferritin levels increased to 1,830–5,740 ng/mL in all patients. Ten patients had abnormal liver function. The CT Hounsfield units in the liver increased significantly in eleven patients, and were proportional to their serum ferritin levels. Skin pigmentation, liver dysfunction, and endocrine dysfunction were observed in nine patients with serum ferritin >3,500 ng/mL, eight of whom have since died. Interestingly, serum ferritin levels did not decrease significantly in nine transfusion-dependent patients who had received 15–60 days of iron-chelating therapy.
Transfusion-dependent patients may progress to secondary iron overload with organ impairment, which may be fatal in those who are heavily iron-overloaded. The CT Hounsfield unit is a sensitive indicator of iron overload in the liver. Iron chelation therapy should be initiated when serum ferritin is >1,000 ng/mL and continued until it is <1,000 ng/mL in transfusional iron-overloaded patients.
PMCID: PMC4003266  PMID: 24790419
anemia; aplastic; iron overload; myelodysplastic syndromes
15.  Neoplastic transformation of rat liver epithelial cells is enhanced by non-transferrin-bound iron 
Iron overload is associated with liver toxicity, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma in humans. While most iron circulates in blood as transferrin-bound iron, non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) also becomes elevated and contributes to toxicity in the setting of iron overload. The mechanism for iron-related carcinogenesis is not well understood, in part due to a shortage of suitable experimental models. The primary aim of this study was to investigate NTBI-related hepatic carcinogenesis using T51B rat liver epithelial cells, a non-neoplastic cell line previously developed for carcinogenicity and tumor promotion studies.
T51B cells were loaded with iron by repeated addition of ferric ammonium citrate (FAC) to the culture medium. Iron internalization was documented by chemical assay, ferritin induction, and loss of calcein fluorescence. Proliferative effects were determined by cell count, toxicity was determined by MTT assay, and neoplastic transformation was assessed by measuring colony formation in soft agar. Cyclin levels were measured by western blot.
T51B cells readily internalized NTBI given as FAC. Within 1 week of treatment at 200 μM, there were significant but well-tolerated toxic effects including a decrease in cell proliferation (30% decrease, p < 0.01). FAC alone induced little or no colony formation in soft agar. In contrast, FAC addition to cells previously initiated with N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) resulted in a concentration dependent increase in colony formation. This was first detected at 12 weeks of FAC treatment and increased at longer times. At 16 weeks, colony formation increased more than 10 fold in cells treated with 200 μM FAC (p < 0.001). The iron chelator desferoxamine reduced both iron uptake and colony formation. Cells cultured with 200 μM FAC showed decreased cyclin D1, decreased cyclin A, and increased cyclin B1.
These results establish NTBI as a tumor promoter in T51B rat liver epithelial cells. Changes in cyclin proteins suggest cell cycle disregulation contributes to tumor promotion by NTBI in this liver cell model.
PMCID: PMC2275280  PMID: 18254965
16.  Lethal oxidative damage and mutagenesis are generated by iron in delta fur mutants of Escherichia coli: protective role of superoxide dismutase. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1995;177(9):2305-2314.
The Escherichia coli Fur protein, with its iron(II) cofactor, represses iron assimilation and manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) genes, thus coupling iron metabolism to protection against oxygen toxicity. Iron assimilation is triggered by iron starvation in wild-type cells and is constitutive in fur mutants. We show that iron metabolism deregulation in fur mutants produces an iron overload, leading to oxidative stress and DNA damage including lethal and mutagenic lesions. fur recA mutants were not viable under aerobic conditions and died after a shift from anaerobiosis to aerobiosis. Reduction of the intracellular iron concentration by an iron chelator (ferrozine), by inhibition of ferric iron transport (tonB mutants), or by overexpression of the iron storage ferritin H-like (FTN) protein eliminated oxygen sensitivity. Hydroxyl radical scavengers dimethyl sulfoxide and thiourea also provided protection. Functional recombinational repair was necessary for protection, but SOS induction was not involved. Oxygen-dependent spontaneous mutagenesis was significantly increased in fur mutants. Similarly, SOD deficiency rendered sodA sodB recA mutants nonviable under aerobic conditions. Lethality was suppressed by tonB mutations but not by iron chelation or overexpression of FTN. Thus, superoxide-mediated iron reduction was responsible for oxygen sensitivity. Furthermore, overexpression of SOD partially protected fur recA mutants. We propose that a transient iron overload, which could potentially generate oxidative stress, occurs in wild-type cells on return to normal growth conditions following iron starvation, with the coupling between iron and MnSOD regulation helping the cells cope.
PMCID: PMC176885  PMID: 7730258
17.  Longitudinal Study on Liver Functions in Patients with Thalassemia Major before and after Deferasirox (DFX) Therapy 
By performing regular blood transfusion and iron chelation therapy, most patients with beta thalassemia major (BTM) now survive beyond the third decade of life. Liver disease is becoming an important cause of morbidity and mortality in these patients. Chronic hepatitis and/or severe iron overload are both important causes of liver pathology. Iron chelation with desferrioxamine (DFO) reduces excessive body iron, but its efficacy is limited by poor compliance and dose related toxicity. The recent use of Deferasirox ( DFX ), an oral single dose therapy, has improved the compliance to chelation.
To study the long-term liver functions in BMT patients, seronegative for liver infections before versus after DFX treatment in relation to ferritin level.
Only BTM patients with hepatitis negative screening (checked every year) and on treatment with DFO for at least five years and with DFX for four years were enrolled. Liver function tests including serum bilirubin, alanine transferase (ALT), aspartate transferase (AST), albumin, insulin-like growth factor – I (IGF-I) and serum ferritin concentrations were followed every six months in 40 patients with BTM.
DFX treatment (20 mg/kg/day) significantly decreased serum ferritin level in patients with BTM; this was associated with a significant decrease in serum ALT, AST, ALP and increase in IGF-I concentrations. Albumin concentrations did not change after DFX treatment. ALT and AST levels were correlated significantly with serum ferritin concentrations ( r = 0.45 and 0.33 respectively, p < 0.05). IGF-I concentrations were correlated significantly with serum ALT (r= 0.26, p = 0.05) but not with AST, ALP, bilirubin or albumin levels.
The negative correlation between serum ferritin concentrations and ALT suggests that the impairment of hepatic function negatively affect IGF-I synthesis in these patients due to iron toxicity, even in the absence of hepatitis.
Some impairment of liver function can occur in hepatitis negative thalassemic patients with iron overload. The use of DFX was associated with mild but significant reduction of ALT, AST and ALP and increase in IGF-I levels. The negative correlation between IGF-I and ALT concentrations suggest that preventing hepatic dysfunction may improve the growth potential in these patients.
PMCID: PMC4010606  PMID: 24803998
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2008;48(5):1644-1654.
Iron overload exacerbates various liver diseases. In hepatocytes, a portion of non-heme iron is sequestered in lysosomes and endosomes. The precise mechanisms by which lysosomal iron participates in hepatocellular injury remain uncertain. Here, our aim was to determine the role of intracellular movement of chelatable iron in oxidative stress-induced killing to cultured hepatocytes from C3Heb mice and Sprague-Dawley rats. Mitochondrial polarization and chelatable iron were visualized by confocal microscopy of tetramethylrhodamine methylester (TMRM) and quenching of calcein, respectively. Cell viability and hydroperoxide formation (a measure of lipid peroxidation) were measured fluorometrically using propidium iodide and chloromethyl dihydrodichlorofluorescein, respectively. After collapse of lysosomal/endosomal acidic pH gradients with bafilomycin (50 nM), an inhibitor of the vacuolar proton-pumping ATPase, cytosolic calcein fluorescence became quenched. Desferal and starch-desferal (1 mM) prevented bafilomycin-induced calcein quenching, indicating that bafilomycin induced release of chelatable iron from lysosomes/endosomes. Bafilomycin also quenched calcein fluorescence in mitochondria, which was blocked by 20 μM Ru360, an inhibitor of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter, consistent with mitochondrial iron uptake by the uniporter. Bafilomycin alone was not sufficient to induce mitochondrial depolarization and cell killing, but in the presence of low dose tert-butylhydroperoxide (25 μM), bafilomycin enhanced hydroperoxide generation leading to mitochondrial depolarization and subsequent cell death. Taken together, the results are consistent with the conclusion that bafilomycin induces release of chelatable iron from lysosomes/endosomes, which is taken up by mitochondria. Oxidative stress and chelatable iron thus act as two “hits” synergistically promoting toxic radical formation, mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death. This pathway of intracellular iron translocation is a potential therapeutic target against oxidative stress-mediated hepatotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC2579320  PMID: 18846543
bafilomycin; calcein; hepatocyte; iron; lysosome; mitochondrial permeability transition; oxidative stress
19.  Hepatoprotective Effect of Terminalia chebula against t-BHP-Induced Acute Liver Injury in C57/BL6 Mice 
We aimed to identify the hepatoprotective effects of Terminalia chebula water extract (TCW) and its corresponding pharmacological actions using C57/BL6 mice model of tert-butylhydroperoxide-(t-BHP-) induced acute liver injury. Mice were orally administered with TCW (0, 50, 100, or 200 mg/kg) or gallic acid (100 mg/kg) for 5 days before t-BHP (2.5 mM/kg) injection. Liver enzymes, histopathology, oxidative stress parameters, antioxidant components, and inflammatory cytokines were examined 18 h after t-BHP injection. t-BHP injection caused dramatic elevation of serum AST, ALT, and LDH level, while TCW pretreatment notably attenuated these elevations. Inflammatory cytokines including TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 were notably increased in hepatic tissues, and then these were efficiently attenuated by TCW pretreatment. t-BHP injection notably increased malondialdehyde, total reactive oxygen species, and nitric oxide in the liver tissue, while it markedly dropped the antioxidant activities including total antioxidant capacity, total glutathione contents, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase. TCW pretreatment remarkably ameliorated these alterations, and these effects were relevant to gene expressions. Histopathological examinations supported the above findings. Collectively, these findings well prove that TCW beneficially prevents acute and severe liver injury and clarify its corresponding mechanisms involved in the inhibition of oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines.
PMCID: PMC4321673
20.  Iron homeostasis and toxicity in retinal degeneration 
Iron is essential for many metabolic processes but can also cause damage. As a potent generator of hydroxyl radical, the most reactive of the free radicals, iron can cause considerable oxidative stress. Since iron is absorbed through diet but not excreted except through menstruation, total body iron levels build up with age. Macular iron levels increase with age, in both men and women. This iron has the potential to contribute to retinal degeneration.
Here we present an overview of the evidence suggesting that iron may contribute to retinal degenerations. Intraocular iron foreign bodies cause retinal degeneration. Retinal iron buildup resulting from hereditary iron homeostasis disorders aceruloplasminemia, Friedreich’s Ataxia, and panthothenate kinase associated neurodegeneration cause retinal degeneration. Mice with targeted mutation of the iron exporter ceruloplasmin have age-dependent retinal iron overload and a resulting retinal degeneration with features of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Post mortem retinas from patients with AMD have more iron and the iron carrier transferrin than age- matched controls.
Over the past ten years much has been learned about the intricate network of proteins involved in iron handling. Many of these, including transferrin, transferrin receptor, divalent metal transporter 1, ferritin, ferroportin, ceruloplasmin, hephaestin, iron regulatory protein, and histocompatibility leukocyte antigen class I-like protein involved in iron homeostasis (HFE) have been found in the retina. Some of these proteins have been found in the cornea and lens as well. Levels of the iron carrier transferrin are high in the aqueous and vitreous humors. The functions of these proteins in other tissues, combined with studies on cultured ocular tissues, genetically engineered mice, and eye exams on patients with hereditary iron diseases provide clues regarding their ocular functions.
Iron may play a role in a broad range of ocular diseases, including glaucoma, cataract, AMD, and conditions causing intraocular hemorrhage. While iron deficiency must be prevented, the therapeutic potential of limiting iron induced ocular oxidative damage is high. Systemic, local, or topical iron chelation with an expanding repertoire of drugs has clinical potential.
PMCID: PMC2093950  PMID: 17921041
21.  Geographical variations in current clinical practice on transfusions and iron chelation therapy across various transfusion-dependent anaemias 
Blood Transfusion  2013;11(1):108-122.
Background and objectives
Many patients with chronic anaemia require blood transfusions as part of their treatment regimen. As a result, iron overload will inevitably develop if not adequately managed by iron chelation therapy. There are many guidelines relating to transfusion and chelation practices for patients with transfusion-dependent anaemia; however, there is a lack of information on how treatment practices differ around the world. The objective of this manuscript is to highlight key features of current transfusion and chelation management, including similarities and differences across various anaemias and between geographical regions worldwide.
Materials and methods
Data collected at study entry to the multicentre Evaluation of Patients’ Iron Chelation with Exjade (EPIC) study, which recruited 1,744 patients with a variety of transfusion-dependent anaemias across 23 countries from three geographic regions, were assessed. These analyses compared transfusion and chelation treatment prior to the start of study treatment, together with iron burden assessed at study entry by serum ferritin, liver iron concentration and labile plasma iron levels.
Results and conclusions
Data show that transfusion and iron chelation practices differ between anaemias and between geographical regions; this may be linked to availability and accessibility of transfusion and chelation therapy, patients’ compliance, physicians’ attitudes, costs and use of treatment guidelines. Approximately 60% of these transfusion-dependent patients were severely iron overloaded with a serum ferritin level over 2,500 ng/mL, indicating that the risks of iron burden may have been underestimated and current iron chelation therapy, if considered, may not have been adequate to control iron burden.
PMCID: PMC3557481  PMID: 22871821
transfusion practice; chelation practice; iron overload
22.  Antioxidant-Mediated Effects in a Gerbil Model of Iron Overload 
Acta haematologica  2007;118(4):193-199.
Iron cardiomyopathy is a lethal complication of transfusion therapy in thalassemia major. Nutritional supplements decreasing cardiac iron uptake or toxicity would have clinical significance. Murine studies suggest taurine may prevent oxidative damage and inhibit Ca2+-channel-mediated iron transport. We hypothesized that taurine supplementation would decrease cardiac iron-overloaded toxicity by decreasing cardiac iron. Vitamin E and selenium served as antioxidant control.
Animals were divided into control, iron, taurine, and vitamin E/selenium groups. Following sacrifice, iron and selenium measurements, histology, and biochemical analyses were performed.
No significant differences were found in heart and liver iron content between treatment groups, except for higher hepatic dry-weight iron concentrations in taurine-treated animals (p < 0.03). Serum iron increased with iron loading (751 ± 66 vs. 251 ± 54 μg/dl, p < 0.001) and with taurine (903 ± 136 μg/dl, p = 0.03).
Consistent with oxidative stress, iron overload increased cardiac malondialdehyde levels, decreased heart glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, and increased serum aspartate aminotransferase. Taurine ameliorated these changes, but only significantly for liver GPx activity. Selenium and vitamin E supplementation did not improve oxidative markers and worsened cardiac GPx activity. These results suggest that taurine acts primarily as an antioxidant rather than inhibiting iron uptake. Future studies should illuminate the complexity of these results.
PMCID: PMC2892915  PMID: 17940334
Iron overload; Taurine; Heart; Liver; Antioxidants
23.  Acute iron overload in mice: pathogenesis of Salmonella typhimurium infection. 
Infection and Immunity  1983;39(2):659-665.
The bacterial growth in the tissues of C3D2F1 male mice was measured during an experimental infection with two Salmonella typhimurium strains (high virulence, strain 2386/74; low virulence, strain L15403). This experimental model was used for evaluation of the pathogenesis in normal and iron-overloaded animals. Acute iron overload was accomplished by intramuscular injections of chelated iron (with 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid and citrate) with a single dose of 100 micrograms of iron per mouse. Bacteria were given intraperitoneally 1 h after the iron injection. Serum iron levels, transferrin levels, and the bacteria counts in blood and liver were measured simultaneously in all animals. There was a significant increase of bacterial growth in all tissues in the iron-treated animals. Iron abolished the normal clearance of the bacteria with low virulence from the blood. This study demonstrates that a general iron overload, as determined by an increased serum iron level, resulting from preinjection of iron, enhances bacterial growth.
PMCID: PMC348002  PMID: 6339386
24.  Hepatic lipid peroxidation in vivo in rats with chronic iron overload. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1983;71(3):429-439.
Peroxidative decomposition of cellular membrane lipids is a postulated mechanism of hepatocellular injury in parenchymal iron overload. In the present study, we looked for direct evidence of lipid peroxidation in vivo (as measured by lipid-conjugated diene formation in hepatic organelle membranes) from rats with experimental chronic iron overload. Both parenteral ferric nitrilotriacetate (FeNTA) administration and dietary supplementation with carbonyl iron were used to produce chronic iron overload. Biochemical and histologic evaluation of liver tissue confirmed moderate increases in hepatic storage iron. FeNTA administration produced excessive iron deposition throughout the hepatic lobule in both hepatocytes and Kupffer cells, whereas dietary carbonyl iron supplementation produced greater hepatic iron overload in a periportal distribution with iron deposition predominantly in hepatocytes. Evidence for mitochondrial lipid peroxidation in vivo was demonstrated at all three mean hepatic iron concentrations studied (1,197, 3,231, and 4,216 micrograms Fe/g) in both models of experimental chronic iron overload. In contrast, increased conjugated diene formation was detected in microsomal lipids only at the higher liver iron concentration (4,161 micrograms Fe/g) achieved by dietary carbonyl iron supplementation. When iron as either FeNTA or ferritin was added in vitro to normal liver homogenates before lipid extraction, no conjugated diene formation was observed. We conclude that the presence of conjugated dienes in the subcellular fractions of rat liver provide direct evidence of iron-induced hepatic mitochondrial and microsomal lipid peroxidation in vivo in two models of experimental chronic iron overload.
PMCID: PMC436890  PMID: 6826715
25.  Labile iron in cells and body fluids: physiology, pathology, and pharmacology 
In living systems iron appears predominantly associated with proteins, but can also be detected in forms referred as labile iron, which denotes the combined redox properties of iron and its amenability to exchange between ligands, including chelators. The labile cell iron (LCI) composition varies with metal concentration and substances with chelating groups but also with pH and the medium redox potential. Although physiologically in the lower μM range, LCI plays a key role in cell iron economy as cross-roads of metabolic pathways. LCI levels are continually regulated by an iron-responsive machinery that balances iron uptake versus deposition into ferritin. However, LCI rises aberrantly in some cell types due to faulty cell utilization pathways or infiltration by pathological iron forms that are found in hemosiderotic plasma. As LCI attains pathological levels, it can catalyze reactive O species (ROS) formation that, at particular threshold, can surpass cellular anti-oxidant capacities and seriously damage its constituents. While in normal plasma and interstitial fluids, virtually all iron is securely carried by circulating transferrin (Tf; that renders iron essentially non-labile), in systemic iron overload (IO), the total plasma iron binding capacity is often surpassed by a massive iron influx from hyperabsorptive gut or from erythrocyte overburdened spleen and/or liver. As plasma Tf approaches iron saturation, labile plasma iron (LPI) emerges in forms that can infiltrate cells by unregulated routes and raise LCI to toxic levels. Despite the limited knowledge available on LPI speciation in different types and degrees of IO, LPI measurements can be and are in fact used for identifying systemic IO and for initiating/adjusting chelation regimens to attain full-day LPI protection. A recent application of labile iron assay is the detection of labile components in intravenous iron formulations per se as well as in plasma (LPI) following parenteral iron administration.
PMCID: PMC3952030  PMID: 24659969
iron; iron metabolism; chelator; siderophore; mitochondria; iron overload; oxidative stress; fluorescence

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