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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.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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
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.  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
8.  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
9.  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
10.  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
11.  Tannin extracts from immature fruits of Terminalia chebula Fructus Retz. promote cutaneous wound healing in rats 
Tannins extracted from immature fruits of Terminalia chebula Fructus Retz. are considered as effective components promoting the process of wound healing. The objective of this study is to explore the optimal extraction and purification technology (OEPT) of tannins, while studying the use of this drug in the treatment of a cutaneous wound of rat as well as its antibacterial effects.
The content of tannin extracts was measured by the casein method, and antibacterial ability was studied by the micro-dilution method in vitro. In wound healing experiment, animals in group Ⅰ, Ⅱ and Ⅲ were treated with vaseline ointment, tannin extracts (tannin content: 81%) and erythromycin ointment, respectively (5 mg of ointment were applied on each wound). To evaluate the process of wound healing, selected pharmacological and biochemical parameters were applied.
After optimal extraction and purification, content of tannin extracts was increased to 81%. Tannin extracts showed the inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella Pneumonia in vitro. After excision of wounds, on days 7 and 10, the percent of wound contraction of group Ⅱ was higher than that of group Ⅰ. After being hurt with wounds, on days 3, 7, and 10, the wound healing quality of group Ⅱ was found to be better than that of group Ⅰ in terms of granulation formation and collagen organization. After wound creation, on day 3, the vascular endothelial growth factor expression of group Ⅱ was higher than that of group Ⅰ.
The results suggest that tannin extracts from dried immature fruits of Terminalia chebula Fructus Retz. can promote cutaneous wound healing in rats, probably resulting from a powerful anti-bacterial and angiogenic activity of the extracts.
PMCID: PMC3198757  PMID: 21982053
12.  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
13.  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
14.  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
15.  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
16.  Evaluation of direct antiviral activity of the Deva-5 herb formulation and extracts of five Asian plants against influenza A virus H3N8 
The herb formulation Deva-5 is used in traditional medicine to treat acute infectious diseases. Deva-5 is composed of five herbs: Gentiana decumbens L., Momordica cochinchinensis L., Hypecoum erectum L., Polygonum bistorta L., and Terminalia chebula Retz. Deva-5 and its five components were investigated for in vitro antiviral activity against avian influenza A virus subtype H3N8.
The water extracts of the herbal parts of G. decumbens, H. erectum and P. bistorta, the seeds of T. chebula and M. cochinchinensis and Deva-5 were prepared by boiling and clarified by low-speed centrifugation and filtration. To assess the antiviral properties, avian influenza virus isolate A/Teal/Tunka/7/2010(H3N8) was incubated at 37°C for 30 min in the presence and absence of the extracts of five plants and DEVA-5 in various concentrations. Subsequently, the concentration of infectious virus in each sample was determined by plaque assays. Neutralisation indexes and 90% plaque reduction concentrations were estimated for each extract, and the significance of the data was evaluated using statistical methods.
The extracts of G. decumbens, H. erectum, P. bistorta and Deva-5 demonstrated no significant toxicity at concentrations up to 2%, whereas extracts of T. chebula and M. cochinchinensis were well-tolerated by Madin-Darby canine kidney cells at concentrations up to 1%. The extracts of H. erectum, M. cochinchinensis and T. chebula reduced the titre of A/Teal/Tunka/7/2010 (H3N8) by approximately five-fold (p ≤ 0.05). The other three extracts did not significantly reduce the infectivity of the virus. The plaque reduction neutralisation tests revealed that none of the extracts tested were able to inhibit formation of plaques by 90%. However, three extracts, H. erectum, T. chebula and M. cochinchinensis, were able to inhibit formation of plaques by more than 50% at low dilutions from 1:3 to 1:14. The T. chebula extract had a concentration-dependent inhibitory effect.
For the first time, the consistent direct antiviral action of the extracts of H. erectum, T. chebula and M. cochinchinensis was detected. These extracts significantly reduced the infectivity of influenza A virus H3N8 in vitro when used at high concentrations (0.5–1%). However, Deva-5 itself and the remainder of its components did not exhibit significant antiviral action. The results suggest that H. erectum, T. chebula and M. cochinchinensis plants contain substances with direct antiviral activity and could be promising sources of new antiviral drugs.
PMCID: PMC4227079  PMID: 25012588
Gentiana decumbens; Momordica cochinchinensis; Hypecoum erectum; Polygonum bistorta; Terminalia chebula; Deva-5; Influenza A virus; H3N8; Antivirals
17.  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
18.  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
19.  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
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.  Curcumin may impair iron status when fed to mice for six months 
Redox Biology  2014;2:563-569.
Curcumin has been shown to have many potentially health beneficial properties in vitro and in animal models with clinical studies on the toxicity of curcumin reporting no major side effects. However, curcumin may chelate dietary trace elements and could thus potentially exert adverse effects. Here, we investigated the effects of a 6 month dietary supplementation with 0.2% curcumin on iron, zinc, and copper status in C57BL/6J mice. Compared to non-supplemented control mice, we observed a significant reduction in iron, but not zinc and copper stores, in the liver and the spleen, as well as strongly suppressed liver hepcidin and ferritin expression in the curcumin-supplemented mice. The expression of the iron-importing transport proteins divalent metal transporter 1 and transferrin receptor 1 was induced, while hepatic and splenic inflammatory markers were not affected in the curcumin-fed mice. The mRNA expression of other putative target genes of curcumin, including the nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 and haem oxygenase 1 did not differ between the groups. Most of the published animal trials with curcumin-feeding have not reported adverse effects on iron status or the spleen. However, it is possible that long-term curcumin supplementation and a Western-type diet may aggravate iron deficiency. Therefore, our findings show that further studies are needed to evaluate the effect of curcumin supplementation on iron status.
Graphical abstract
A 6 month dietary supplementation with 0.2% curcumin in C57BL/6J mice led to a significant reduction in iron, but not zinc and copper stores, in the liver and the spleen, and suppressed liver hepcidin and ferritin expression. Furthermore, the expression of the iron-importing transport proteins divalent metal transporter (DMT) 1 and transferrin receptor (TfR) 1 was induced in the curcumin-fed mice. These data suggest that long-term curcumin supplementation and a Western-type diet may aggravate iron deficiency.
•0.2% dietary curcumin for 6 months reduced iron stores in murine liver and spleen.•Curcumin chelated iron but not zinc and copper in vivo.•Liver hepcidin and ferritin expression was strongly suppressed in curcumin-fed mice.•Curcumin induced expression of hepatic iron transporters DMT1 and TfR1.•Curcumin did not affect hepatic and splenic inflammatory and oxidative markers.
PMCID: PMC3953957  PMID: 24634837
γ-GCS, γ-glutamyl cysteine synthetase; DMT1, divalent metal transporter 1; FPN, ferroportin; HO1, haem oxygenase; IL, interleukin; NQO1, NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase; NRF2, nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2; qRT-PCR, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction; TBS, tris buffered saline; TfR1, transferrin receptor 1; TNFα, tumour necrosis factor α; Curcumin; Iron store; Liver minerals; Safety; Enlarged spleen; Toxicity
22.  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
23.  Rapid iron loading in a pregnant woman with transfusion-dependent thalassemia after brief cessation of iron chelation therapy 
European Journal of Haematology  2008;81(2):157-159.
In general, in women with transfusion-dependent thalassemia, during pregnancy, iron chelation therapy is ceased. We report a splenectomized patient, who was an excellent complier with chelation therapy, who before embarking on a pregnancy showed no evidence of iron overload, with normal cardiac, thyroid function and glucose metabolism. Laboratory findings showed ferritin 67 μg/L, myocardial T2* of 34 ms and liver magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) liver iron concentration of 1 mg/g dry weight. She became pregnant by in vitro fertilization in October 2006, delivery occurred in June 2007. She breast fed for 2 months. After 12 months without iron chelation, ferritin was 1583 μg/L. Quantitative MRI showed myocardial T2* of 27 ms, that the liver iron concentration had increased to 11.3 mg/g dry weight, indicative of moderate to heavy iron load. This case demonstrates that iron overload can develop rapidly and that physicians caring for patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia should be particularly alert to any discontinuation of chelation therapy over time.
PMCID: PMC2607536  PMID: 18462251
thalassemia major; pregnancy; transfusion iron load; chelation therapy
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
25.  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

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