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Małgorzata Goralska, Steven Nagar, Lloyd N. Fleisher, Philip Mzyk, M. Christine McGahan; Source-Dependent Intracellular Distribution of Iron in Lens Epithelial Cells Cultured Under Normoxic and Hypoxic Conditions. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(12):7666-7673. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.13-12868.
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Intracellular iron trafficking and the characteristics of iron distribution from different sources are poorly understood. We previously determined that the lens removes excess iron from fluids of inflamed eyes. In the current study, we examined uptake and intracellular distribution of 59Fe from iron transport protein transferrin or ferric chloride (nontransferrin-bound iron [NTBI]) in cultured canine lens epithelial cells (LECs). Because lens tissue physiologically functions under low oxygen tension, we also tested effects of hypoxia on iron trafficking. Excess iron, not bound to proteins, can be damaging to cells due to its ability to catalyze formation of reactive oxygen species.
LECs were labeled with 59Fe-Tf or 59FeCl3 under normoxic or hypoxic conditions. Cell lysates were fractioned into mitochondria-rich, nuclei-rich, and cytosolic fractions. Iron uptake and its subcellular distribution were measured by gamma counting.
59Fe accumulation into LECs labeled with 59Fe-Tf was 55-fold lower as compared with that of 59FeCl3. Hypoxia (24 hours) decreased uptake of iron from transferrin but not from FeCl3. More iron from 59FeCl3 was directed to the mitochondria-rich fraction (32.6%–47.7%) compared with 59Fe from transferrin (10.6%–12.6%). The opposite was found for the cytosolic fraction (8.7%–18.3% and 54.2%–46.6 %, respectively). Hypoxia significantly decreased iron accumulation in the mitochondria-rich fraction of LECs labeled with 59Fe-Tf .
There are source-dependent differences in iron uptake and trafficking. Uptake and distribution of NTBI are not as strictly regulated as that of iron from transferrin. Excessive exposure to NTBI, which could occur in pathological conditions, may oxidatively damage organelles, particularly mitochondria.
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