BioMetals (v.25, #4)

Copper deficiency has minimal impact on ferroportin expression or function by Joseph R. Prohaska; Margaret Broderius (633-642).
Interactions between copper and iron homeostasis have been known since the nineteenth century when anemia in humans was first described due to copper limitation. However, the mechanism remains unknown. Intestinal and liver iron concentrations are usually higher following copper deficiency (CuD). This may be due to impaired function of the multicopper oxidases hephaestin or ceruloplasmin (Cp), respectively. However, iron retention could be due to altered ferroportin (Fpn), the essential iron efflux transporter in enterocytes and macrophages. Fpn mRNA is controlled partially by intracellular iron and IRE dependence. CuD should augment Fpn based on iron level. Some argue that Fpn stability is controlled partially by membrane ferroxidase (GPI-Cp). CuD should result in lower Fpn since GPI-Cp expression and function is reduced. Fpn turnover is controlled by hepcidin. CuD results in variable Hamp (hepcidin) expression. Fpn mRNA and protein level were evaluated following dietary CuD in rats and mice. To correlate with Fpn expression, measurements of tissue iron were conducted in several rodent models. Following CuD there was little change in Fpn mRNA. Previous work indicated that under certain circumstances Fpn protein was augmented in liver and spleen following CuD. Fpn levels in CuD did not correlate with either total iron or non-heme iron (NHI), as iron levels in CuD liver were higher and in spleen lower than copper adequate controls. Fpn steady state levels appear to be regulated by a complex set of factors. Changes in Fpn do not explain the anemia of CuD.
Keywords: Copper deficiency; Rodents; Iron; Ferroportin; Anemia

Physiologic implications of metal-ion transport by ZIP14 and ZIP8 by Supak Jenkitkasemwong; Chia-Yu Wang; Bryan Mackenzie; Mitchell D. Knutson (643-655).
Zinc, iron, and manganese are essential trace elements that serve as catalytic or structural components of larger molecules that are indispensable for life. The three metal ions possess similar chemical properties and have been shown to compete for uptake in a variety of tissues, suggesting that they share common transport proteins. Two likely candidates are the recently identified transmembrane proteins ZIP14 and ZIP8, which have been shown to mediate the cellular uptake of a number of divalent metal ions including zinc, iron, manganese, and cadmium. Although knockout and transgenic mouse models are beginning to define the physiologic roles of ZIP14 and ZIP8 in the handling of zinc and cadmium, their roles in the metabolism of iron and manganese remain to be defined. Here we review similarities and differences in ZIP14 and ZIP8 in terms of structure, metal transport, tissue distribution, subcellular localization, and regulation. We also discuss potential roles of these proteins in the metabolism of zinc, iron, manganese, and cadmium as well as recent associations with human diseases.
Keywords: SLC39; Iron; Zinc; Manganese; Cadmium; Hemochromatosis

Acute inhibition of iron bioavailability by zinc: studies in humans by Manuel Olivares; Fernando Pizarro; Manuel Ruz; Daniel López de Romaña (657-664).
Iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) deficiencies constitute two of the most important nutritional and public health problems affecting developing countries. Combined supplementation or fortification with Zn and Fe are strategies that can be used to improve the Zn and Fe status of a population. However, there is concern about potential negative interactions between these two micronutrients due to a competitive binding to DMT1 and Zip14 transporter. Studies performed in humans have shown an inhibitory effect of Zn on Fe absorption when both minerals are given together as a solution in fasting conditions. We found that at low doses of iron (0.5 mg) the threshold for the inhibition of iron bioavailability was at a Zn:Fe wt/wt ratio ≥5.9:1, whereas at higher doses of Fe (10 mg) this inhibition occurred at 1:1 Zn:Fe wt/wt ratio. This differential response could be explained by the variation in the abundance of both cations as they compete for a limited number of shared transporters at the enterocyte. Conflicting results have been obtained when this interaction was studied in different food matrices. A negative interaction was not observed when Fe and Zn were provided in a composite hamburger meal, premature formula, human milk, or cow milk. A decrease on Fe absorption was observed in only 1 of 3 studies when Fe and Zn were supplied in wheat flour. The possibility of a negative interaction should be considered for supplementation or fortification programs with both microminerals.
Keywords: Iron absorption; Zinc; Iron; Interactions; DMT1; Humans

Mechanistic analysis of iron accumulation by endothelial cells of the BBB by Ryan C. McCarthy; Daniel J. Kosman (665-675).
The mechanism(s) by which iron in blood is transported across the blood–brain barrier (BBB) remains controversial. Here we have examined the first step of this trans-cellular pathway, namely the mechanism(s) of iron uptake into human brain microvascular endothelial cells (hBMVEC). We show that hBMVEC actively reduce non-transferrin bound FeIII (NTBI) and transferrin-bound FeIII (TBI); this activity is associated with one or more ferrireductases. Efficient, exo-cytoplasmic ferri-reduction from TBI is dependent upon transferrin receptor (TfR), also. Blocking holo-Tf binding with an anti-TfR antibody significantly decreases the reduction of iron from transferrin by hBMVEC, suggesting that holo-Tf needs to bind to TfR in order for efficient reduction to occur. Ferri-reduction from TBI significantly decreases when hBMVEC are pre-treated with PtII, an inhibitor of cell surface reductase activity. Uptake of 59Fe from 59Fe-Tf by endothelial cells is inhibited by 50 % when ferrozine is added to solution; in contrast, no inhibition occurs when cells are alkalinized with NH4Cl. This indicates that the iron reduced from holo-transferrin at the plasma membrane accounts for at least 50 % of the iron uptake observed. hBMVEC-dependent reduction and uptake of NTBI utilizes a PtII-insensitive reductase. Reductase-independent uptake of FeII by hBMVEC is inhibited up to 50 % by ZnII and/or MnII by a saturable process suggesting that redundant FeII transporters exist in the hBMVEC plasma membrane. These results are the first to demonstrate multiple mechanism(s) of TBI and NTBI reduction and uptake by endothelial cells (EC) of the BBB.
Keywords: Blood–brain barrier; Iron; Neurodegeneration; Transferrin; Dcytb; STEAP2

Known and potential roles of transferrin in iron biology by Thomas Benedict Bartnikas (677-686).
Transferrin is an abundant serum metal-binding protein best known for its role in iron delivery. The human disease congenital atransferrinemia and animal models of this disease highlight the essential role of transferrin in erythropoiesis and iron metabolism. Patients and mice deficient in transferrin exhibit anemia and a paradoxical iron overload attributed to deficiency in hepcidin, a peptide hormone synthesized largely by the liver that inhibits dietary iron absorption and macrophage iron efflux. Studies of inherited human disease and model organisms indicate that transferrin is an essential regulator of hepcidin expression. In this paper, we review current literature on transferrin deficiency and present our recent findings, including potential overlaps between transferrin, iron and manganese in the regulation of hepcidin expression.
Keywords: Transferrin; Iron; Manganese; Hepcidin; Hypotransferrinemia; Atransferrinemia; Anemia

Immunoreactive Hephaestin and ferroxidase activity are present in the cytosolic fraction of rat enterocytes by Perungavur N. Ranganathan; Yan Lu; Brie K. Fuqua; James F. Collins (687-695).
Discovered over a decade ago, hephaestin (Heph) has been implicated as a ferroxidase (FOX) vital for intestinal iron absorption. Stringent structural or kinetic data derived from purified, native protein is however lacking, leading to the hypothesis that an alternate, undiscovered form of Heph could exist in mammalian enterocytes. This possibility was tested using laboratory rodent and cell culture models. Cytosolic and membrane fractions were obtained from rat enterocytes and purity of the fractions was assessed. Western blot analyses revealed Heph in cytosol obtained by three different methods, ruling out the possibility of a method-induced artifact being the major contributor to this observation. Absence of two different membrane-proteins, ferroportin 1 and Menke’s copper ATPase in cytosol, and the absence of lipids in representative cytosolic samples tested by thin layer chromatography, eliminated significant membrane contamination of cytosol. Further, immunohisto- and immunocyto-chemical analyses identified Heph in rat enterocytes and in two intestinal epithelial cell lines, IEC-6 and Caco-2, intracellularly. Additionally, cytosolic Heph increased upon iron-deprivation but more important, decreased significantly upon copper-deprivation, mimicking the response of membrane-bound Heph. Moreover, FOX activity was present in rat cytosol, and was partly inhibited by anti-Heph antibody. Finally, lack of immunodetectable ceruloplasmin (Cp) by western blot precluded Cp as an underlying cause of this activity. These data demonstrate that rat enterocytes contain a soluble/cytosolic form of Heph possibly contributing to the observed FOX activity.
Keywords: Intestine; Iron; Copper; Absorption

Uptake of copper from plasma proteins in cells where expression of CTR1 has been modulated by Theodros Z. Kidane; Ramin Farhad; Kyoung Jin Lee; Abraham Santos; Eric Russo; Maria C. Linder (697-709).
Plasma proteins rather than amino acid chelates are the direct sources of copper for mammalian cells. In continuing studies on the mechanisms by which albumin and transcuprein deliver copper and the potential involvement of CTR1, rates of uptake from these proteins and Cu–histidine were compared in cells with/without CTR1 knockdown or knockout. siRNA knocked down expression of CTR1 mRNA 60–85% in human mammary epithelial and hepatic cell models, but this had little or no effect on uptake of 1 μM Cu(II) attached to pure human albumin or alpha-2-macroglobulin. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts that did/did not express Ctr1 took up Cu(II) bound to albumin about as readily as from the histidine complex at physiological concentrations and by a single saturable process. Uptake from mouse albumin achieved a 2–4-fold higher Vmax (with a lower Km) than from heterologous human albumin. Maximum uptake rates from Cu(I)–histidine were >12-fold higher (with higher Km) than for Cu(II), suggesting mediation by a reductase. The presence of cell surface Cu(II) and Fe(III) reductase activity responding only slightly to dehydroascorbate was verified. Excess Fe(III) inhibited uptake from albumin–Cu(II). Ag(I) also inhibited, but kinetics were not or un-competitive. In general there was little difference in rates/kinetics of uptake in the Ctr1+/+ and −/− cells. Endocytosis was not involved. We conclude that plasma proteins deliver Cu(II) to homologous cells with greater efficiency than ionic copper at physiological concentrations, probably through the mediation of a Steap Cu(II)-reductase, and confirm the existence of an additional copper uptake system in mammalian cells.
Keywords: Copper uptake; CTR1; Plasma proteins; Copper reductase; Silver inhibition

Intracellular iron trafficking: role of cytosolic ligands by Maya Shvartsman; Z. Ioav Cabantchik (711-723).
Iron acquired by cells is delivered to mitochondria for metabolic processing via pathways comprising undefined chemical forms. In order to assess cytosolic factors that affect those iron delivery pathways, we relied on microscopy and flow-cytometry for monitoring iron traffic in: (a) K562 erythroleukemia cells labeled with fluorescent metal-sensors targeted to either cytosol or mitochondria and responsive to changes in labile iron and (b) permeabilized cells that retained metabolically active mitochondria accessible to test substrates. Iron supplied to intact cells as transferrin–Fe(III) or Fe(II)-salts evoked concurrent metal ingress to cytosol and mitochondria. With either supplementation modality, iron ingress into cytosol was mostly absorbed by preloaded chelators, but ingress into mitochondria was fully inhibited only by some chelators, indicating different cytosol-to-mitochondria delivery mechanisms. Iron ingress into cytosol or mitochondria were essentially unaffected by depletion of cytosolic iron ligands like glutathione or the hypothesized 2,5 dihydroxybenzoate (2,5-DHBA) siderophore/chaperone. These ligands also failed to affect mitochondrial iron ingress in permeabilized K562 cells suspended in cytosol-simulating medium. In such medium, mitochondrial iron uptake was >6-eightfold higher for Fe(II) versus Fe(III), showed saturable properties and submicromolar K1/2 corresponding to cytosolic labile iron levels. When measured in iron(II)-containing media, ligands like AMP, ADP or ATP, did not affect mitochondrial iron uptake whereas in iron(III)-containing media ADP and ATP reduced it and AMP stimulated it. Thus, cytosolic iron forms demonstrably contribute to mitochondrial iron delivery, are apparently not associated with DHBA analogs or glutathione but rather with resident components of the cytosolic labile iron pool.
Keywords: Iron; Transport; Mitochondria; Fluorescence; Microscopy; Flow cytometry; Transferrin; Siderophores; Chelators

Type 2 diabetic patients and their offspring show altered parameters of iron status, oxidative stress and genes related to mitochondrial activity by Solange Le Blanc; Pia Villarroel; Valeria Candia; Natalia Gavilán; Néstor Soto; Francisco Pérez-Bravo; Miguel Arredondo (725-735).
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is directly related to alterations in iron status, oxidative stress and decreased mitochondrial activity, but the possible interaction of these parameters among T2D patients and their offspring is unclear. The whole study included 301 subjects: 77 T2D patients and one of their offspring and 51 control subjects with one of their offspring. The offspring were older than 20 years old. We measured parameters of iron status (serum iron, ferritin and transferrin receptor), diabetes (pre and post-prandial glucose, insulin, lipids), oxidative stress (Heme oxygenase activity, TBARS, SOD, GSH, Vitamin E), as well as the expression of genes in blood leukocytes related to mitochondrial apopotosis (mitofusin and Bcl/Bax ratios). The offspring of T2D patients had increased levels of serum ferritin (P < 0.01) and lower transferrin receptor (P < 0.008); higher insulin (P < 0.03) and total and LDL cholesterol; higher heme oxygenase and SOD activities increased TBARS and lower GSH; decreased mitofusin and Bcl/Bax expression ratios compared to offspring of normal subjects. These results suggest that the offspring of T2D patients could have an increased metabolic risk of develop a cardiovascular disease mediated by oxidative stress and iron status.
Keywords: Iron; Oxidative stress; Bcl2/Bax ratio; Mitofusin; Diabetes mellitus

Transcriptomic response of Enterococcus faecalis to iron excess by Guadalupe López; Mauricio Latorre; Angélica Reyes-Jara; Verónica Cambiazo; Mauricio González (737-747).
Iron is an essential nutrient for sustaining bacterial growth; however, little is known about the molecular mechanisms that govern gene expression during the homeostatic response to iron availability. In this study we analyzed the global transcriptional response of Enterococcus faecalis to a non-toxic iron excess in order to identify the set of genes that respond to an increment of intracellular iron. Our results showed an up-regulation of transcriptional regulators of the Fur family (PerR and ZurR), the cation efflux family (CzcD) and ferredoxin, while proton-dependent Mn/Fe (MntH) transporters and the universal stress protein (UspA) were down-regulated. This indicated that E. faecalis was able to activate a transcriptional response while growing in the presence of an excess of non-toxic iron, assuring the maintenance of iron homeostasis. Gene expression analysis of E. faecalis treated with H2O2 indicated that a fraction of the transcriptional changes induced by iron appears to be mediated by oxidative stress. A comparison of our transcriptomic data with a recently reported set of differentially expressed genes in E. faecalis grown in blood, revealed an important fraction of common genes. In particular, genes associated to oxidative stress were up-regulated in both conditions, while genes encoding the iron uptake system (feo and ycl operons) were up-regulated when cells were grown in blood. This suggested that blood cultures mimic an iron deficit, and was corroborated by measuring feo and ycl expression in E. faecalis treated with the iron chelating agent 2,2-dipyridil. In summary, our group identified an adaptive transcriptional mechanism in response to metal ion stress in E. faecalis, providing a foundation for future in-depth functional studies of the iron-activated regulatory network.
Keywords: Enteroccocus faecalis ; Iron transporters; Global gene expression; qPCR; Iron content; Oxidative stress

Adipose tissue secretes numerous pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α that can lead to insulin resistance (IR). In the liver, both IL-6 and TNF-α induce IR by inhibiting phosphorylation or ubiquitination of IRS1. In IR development, Fe is a risk factor in type-2 diabetes development. We studied the expression of genes related to inflammation, hypoxia, and mitochondrial function in hepatic (HepG2) and adipose (3T3-L1) cells. HepG2 and 3T3-L1 cells were incubated with 20 μM Fe, 40 μM Fe, or 40 μM Fe/20 mM glucose for 7 days and then challenged with 20 ng/ml IL-6 and/or 100 μM CoCl2 for 20 h. We measured intracellular Fe levels and the relative expression of hepcidin, NF-κB, IL-6, TNF-α, hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), and mitofusin 2 (Mfn-2) mRNA using qRT-PCR. The intracellular Fe concentration in HepG2 cells did not change with 20 or 40 μM Fe. However, levels were decreased with Fe/glucose and IL-6 and/or CoCl2. 3T3-L1 cells showed an increase in intracellular Fe with high Fe plus either IL-6 or CoCl2. HepG2 cells incubated with 40 μM Fe alone or Fe/glucose and challenged with IL-6 and/or CoCl2 showed increased IL-6, NF-κB, and TNF-α mRNA expression and decreased mRNA expression of Mfn-2 in all experimental conditions. 3T3-L1 cells incubated with 40 μM Fe alone or Fe/glucose and challenged with IL-6 showed increased NF-κB mRNA expression and decreased Mfn-2 expression in all experimental conditions. Thus, high Fe, inflammation, and hypoxia trigger the expression of genes related to inflammation and Fe metabolism in HepG2 cells, in 3T3-L1 cells the same stimuli increased NF-kB and hepcidin expression.
Keywords: Inflammation; Hypoxia; Hepcidin; Adipocytes; Hepatocytes

Iron toxicity in neurodegeneration by Marco T. Núñez; Pamela Urrutia; Natalia Mena; Pabla Aguirre; Victoria Tapia; Julio Salazar (761-776).
Iron is an essential element for life on earth, participating in a plethora of cellular processes where one-electron transfer reactions are required. Its essentiality, coupled to its scarcity in aqueous oxidative environments, has compelled living organisms to develop mechanisms that ensure an adequate iron supply, at times with disregard to long-term deleterious effects derived from iron accumulation. However, iron is an intrinsic producer of reactive oxygen species, and increased levels of iron promote neurotoxicity because of hydroxyl radical formation, which results in glutathione consumption, protein aggregation, lipid peroxidation and nucleic acid modification. Neurons from brain areas sensitive to degeneration accumulate iron with age and thus are subjected to an ever increasing oxidative stress with the accompanying cellular damage. The ability of these neurons to survive depends on the adaptive mechanisms developed to cope with the increasing oxidative load. Here, we describe the chemical and thermodynamic peculiarities of iron chemistry in living matter, review the components of iron homeostasis in neurons and elaborate on the mechanisms by which iron homeostasis is lost in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases in which iron accumulation has been demonstrated.
Keywords: Iron homeostasis; Mitochondria dysfunction; GSH; Fe–S clusters; Neurodegeneration

Increased copper levels in in vitro and in vivo models of Niemann-Pick C disease by Mary Carmen Vázquez; Pablo Martínez; Alejandra R. Alvarez; Mauricio González; Silvana Zanlungo (777-786).
Niemann-Pick type C disease (NPC) is a hereditary neurovisceral atypical lipid storage disorder produced by mutations in the NPC1 and NPC2 genes. The disease is characterized by unesterified cholesterol accumulation in late endosomal/lysosomal compartments and oxidative stress. The most affected tissues are the cerebellum and the liver. The lysotropic drug U18666A (U18) has been widely used as a pharmacological model to induce the NPC phenotype in several cell culture lines. It has already been reported that there is an increase in copper content in hepatoma Hu7 cells treated with U18. We confirmed this result with another human hepatoma cell line, HepG2, treated with U18 and supplemented with copper in the media. However, in mouse hippocampal primary cultures treated under similar conditions, we did not find alterations in copper content. We previously reported increased copper content in the liver of Npc1 −/− mice compared to control animals. Here, we extended the analysis to the copper content in the cerebella, the plasma and the bile of NPC1 deficient mice. We did not observe a significant change in copper content in the cerebella, whereas we found increased copper content in the plasma and decreased copper levels in the bile of Npc1−/− mice. Finally, we also evaluated the plasma content of ceruloplasmin, and we found an increase in this primary copper-binding protein in Npc1 −/− mice. These results indicate cell-type dependence of copper accumulation in NPC disease and suggest that copper transport imbalance may be relevant to the liver pathology observed in NPC disease.
Keywords: Copper; Niemann-Pick type C; Liver; Ceruloplasmin

Isoform specific regulation of divalent metal (ion) transporter (DMT1) by proteasomal degradation by Michael D. Garrick; Lin Zhao; Jerome A. Roth; Houbo Jiang; Jian Feng; Natalie J. Foot; Hazel Dalton; Sharad Kumar; Laura M. Garrick (787-793).
Divalent metal ion transporter (DMT1) is the major transporter for iron entrance into mammalian cells and iron exit from endosomes during the transferrin cycle. Four major mRNA isoforms correspond to four protein isoforms, differing at 5′/3′ and N-/C-termini, respectively. Isoforms are designated 1A versus 1B reflecting where transcription starts or +iron responsive element (+IRE) versus IRE reflecting the presence/absence of an IRE in the 3′ end of the mRNA. These differences imply regulation at transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. Many proteins are degraded by a ubiquitination-dependent mechanism. Two different ubiquitin ligases (E3s) appear to be involved in DMT1 ubiquitination: Parkin or neuronal precursor cell-expressed developmentally downregulated 4 (Nedd4) family E3s which often utilize Nedd4 family interacting protein-1 and -2 (Ndfip1 and 2) to ubiquitinate their substrate proteins. Prior data suggest that Parkin ubiquitinates 1B DMT1 but not 1A DMT1 while Nedd4/Ndfips ligate ubiquitin to DMT1 in the duodenum where 1A/+IRE DMT1 predominates. Our assay for whether these systems target DMT1 depends on two HEK293 cell lines that express permanently transfected 1A/+IRE DMT1 or 1B/−IRE DMT1 after induction by doxycycline. Transient transfection with a Parkin construct before induction diminishes 1B/−IRE DMT1 detected by immune-blots but not 1A/+IRE DMT1. Mutant Parkin serves as a control that does not affect DMT1 levels. Thus DMT1 regulation in an isoform specific fashion can occur by ubiquitination and the events involved have implications for DMT1 function and disease processes.
Keywords: Ubiquitin; Protein degradation; Protein isoforms; Iron; Parkin; Nedd4 family interacting proteins (Ndfips)

The dopamine metabolite aminochrome inhibits mitochondrial complex I and modifies the expression of iron transporters DMT1 and FPN1 by Pabla Aguirre; Pamela Urrutia; Victoria Tapia; Monica Villa; Irmgad Paris; Juan Segura-Aguilar; Marco T. Núñez (795-803).
Hallmarks of idiopathic and some forms of familial Parkinson’s disease are mitochondrial dysfunction, iron accumulation and oxidative stress in dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra. There seems to be a causal link between these three conditions, since mitochondrial dysfunction can give rise to increased electron leak and reactive oxygen species production. In turn, recent evidence indicates that diminished activity of mitochondrial complex I results in decreased Fe–S cluster synthesis and anomalous activation of Iron Regulatory Protein 1. Thus, mitochondrial dysfunction could be a founding event in the process that leads to neuronal death. Here, we present evidence showing that at low micromolar concentrations, the dopamine metabolite aminochrome inhibits complex I and ATP production in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells differentiated into a dopaminergic phenotype. This effect is apparently direct, since it is replicated in isolated mitochondria. Additionally, overnight treatment with aminochrome increased the expression of the iron import transporter divalent metal transporter 1 and decreased the expression of the iron export transporter ferroportin 1. In accordance with these findings, cells treated with aminochrome presented increased iron uptake. These results suggest that aminochrome is an endogenous toxin that inhibits by oxidative modifications mitochondrial complex I and modifies the levels of iron transporters in a way that leads to iron accumulation.
Keywords: Dopamine metabolism; Complex I activity; DMT1 isoforms; Ferroportin 1; Iron accumulation

Two major lesions are pathological hallmarks in Alzheimer’s disease (AD): the presence of neurofibrillary tangles formed by intracellular aggregates of the hyperphosphorylated form of the cytoskeletal tau protein, and of senile plaques composed of extracellular aggregates of amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide. Current hypotheses regard soluble amyloid beta oligomers (AβOs) as pathological causative agents in AD. These aggregates cause significant calcium deregulation and mediate neurotoxicity by disrupting synaptic activity. Additionally, the presence of high concentrations of metal ions such as copper, zinc, aluminum and iron in neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques, plus the fact that they accelerate the rate of formation of Aβ fibrils and AβOs in vitro, suggests that accumulation of these metals in the brain is relevant to AD pathology. A common cellular response to AβOs and transition metals such as copper and iron is the generation of oxidative stress, with the ensuing damage to cellular components. Using hippocampal neurons in primary culture, we report here the effects of treatment with AβOs on the (+)IRE and (−)IRE mRNA levels of the divalent metal transporter DMT1. We found that non-lethal AβOs concentrations decreased DMT1 (−)IRE without affecting DMT1 (+)IRE mRNA levels, and inhibited non-transferrin bound iron uptake. In addition, since both iron and AβOs induce oxidative damage, we studied whether their neurotoxic effects are synergistic. In the range of concentrations and times used in this study, AβOs did not potentiate iron-induced cell death while iron chelation did not decrease AβOs-induced cell death. The lack of synergism between iron and AβOs suggests that these two neurotoxic agents converge in a common target, which initiates signaling processes that promote neurodegeneration.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Amyloid-beta neurotoxicity; DMT1; Iron neurotoxicity

Synaptic defects associated with s-inclusion body myositis are prevented by copper by R. Aldunate; A. N. Minniti; D. Rebolledo; N. C. Inestrosa (815-824).
Sporadic-inclusion body myositis (s-IBM) is the most common skeletal muscle disorder to afflict the elderly, and is clinically characterized by skeletal muscle degeneration. Its progressive course leads to muscle weakness and wasting, resulting in severe disability. The exact pathogenesis of this disease is unknown and no effective treatment has yet been found. An intriguing aspect of s-IBM is that it shares several molecular abnormalities with Alzheimer’s disease, including the accumulation of amyloid-β-peptide (Aβ). Both disorders affect homeostasis of the cytotoxic fragment Aβ1-42 during aging, but they are clinically distinct diseases. The use of animals that mimic some characteristics of a disease has become important in the search to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis. With the aim of analyzing Aβ-induced pathology and evaluating the consequences of modulating Aβ aggregation, we used Caenorhabditis elegans that express the Aβ human peptide in muscle cells as a model of s-IBM. Previous studies indicate that copper treatment increases the number and size of amyloid deposits in muscle cells, and is able to ameliorate the motility impairments in Aβ transgenic C. elegans. Our recent studies show that neuromuscular synaptic transmission is defective in animals that express the Aβ-peptide and suggest a specific defect at the nicotine acetylcholine receptors level. Biochemical analyses show that copper treatment increases the number of amyloid deposits but decreases Aβ-oligomers. Copper treatment improves motility, synaptic structure and function. Our results suggest that Aβ-oligomers are the toxic Aβ species that trigger neuromuscular junction dysfunction.
Keywords: Inclusion body myositis; Amyloid-β-peptide; Copper; C. elegans ; Neuromuscular junction

Iron deficiency on neuronal function by Pablo Muñoz; Alexis Humeres (825-835).
Because of the intrinsic ability of iron to catalyze the formation of reactive oxygen species, it has been associated with oxidative stress and neurodegenerative diseases. However, iron deficiency (ID) also negatively impacts various functions of the brain, suggesting that iron plays an important physiological role in neuronal processes such as myelination, synaptogenesis, behavior and synaptic plasticity (SP). ID not only produces changes in the hippocampus, striatum, amygdale or prefrontal cortex, it also affects the interaction among these systems. In both humans and rodents, the perturbations of these structures are associated to cognitive deficits. These cognitive alterations have been well correlated with changes in neural plasticity, the possible cellular substrate of memory and learning. Given that SP is strongly affected by early ID and the lasting-neurological consequences remain even after ID has been corrected, it is important to prevent ID as well as to seek effective therapeutic interventions that reduce or reverse the long-term effects of the ID in the nervous system. This review will give an overview of the literature on the effects of iron deficit in neuronal functions such as behavior, neurotransmission and SP. We also discuss our recent data about the possible oxidative effect of iron on the mechanisms involved in neural plasticity.
Keywords: Iron; Synaptic plasticity; Calcium signaling; Hippocampus; Cognitive impartment

Iron and ER stress in neurodegenerative disease by Yiting Liu; James R. Connor (837-845).
Neurodegenerative disease is a condition in which subpopulations of neuronal cells of the brain and spinal cord are selectively lost. A common event in many neurodegenerative diseases is the increased level of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress caused by accumulation and deposits of inclusion bodies that contain abnormal aggregated proteins. However, the basis of how ER stress contributes to the selective neuronal vulnerability and degeneration remain elusive. Iron accumulation in the central nerve system is consistently present in many neurodegenerative diseases. In the past 5 years we have begun to show a relationship between polymorphisms in the HFE (high iron) gene and the risk of neurodegenerative disorders. Recent findings have suggested a connection between ER stress and iron metabolism and neurodegeneration. Here we review how the different levels of chronic ER stress contribute to the different fates of neurons, namely the adaptive response and neuronal death. And, we discuss the roles of iron and HFE genotype in selective neuronal vulnerability and degeneration through modifying the ER stress level.
Keywords: Iron; Chronic ER stress; Adaptive response; Neurodegeneration