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Iron Deficiency and Overload Modulate the Inflammatory Responses and Metabolism of Alveolar Macrophages


Alveolar macrophages (AM) are critical to defense against respiratory pathogens. This study evaluated cellular iron imbalance to immunometabolism in endotoxin-polarized porcine AMs (PAMs). PAMs collected from five 6-week-old pigs were treated with a basal media, iron chelator, or ferric ammonium citrate to maintain iron replete or induce iron deficiency or overload, respectively. After 24 h treatment, PAMs were challenged with saline or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for 6 h. Cells were analyzed for gene, protein, and untargeted metabolome. Cytokines were determined in culture media. Data were assessed using two-way ANOVA. Treatments successfully induced iron deficiency and overload. The mRNA of DMT1 and ZIP14 was increased up to 300-fold by LPS, but unaffected by iron. Surprisingly, both iron deprivation and overload attenuated LPS-induced inflammation, showing less TNFα production and lower mRNA of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines than iron-replete PAMs. Forty-eight metabolites were altered by either or both main effects. LPS enhanced the glycolysis and polyol pathways. Iron deprivation disrupted the TCA cycle. Iron overload increased intracellular cholesterol. Interestingly, iron deprivation augmented, whereas iron overload diminished, LPS-induced itaconic acid production, which has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, iron-deficient PAMs may be more resistant to intracellular pathogens which use PAMs as a conduit for infection.

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