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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Transferrin-bound and transferrin free iron uptake by cultured rat astrocytes.

Previously we had demonstrated the presence of transferrin receptor (TfR) on the plasma membrane of cultured rat cortical astrocytes. In this study, we investigated the roles of TfR in transferrin-bound iron (Tf-Fe) as well as transferrin-free iron (Fe II) uptake by the cells. The cultured rat astrocytes were incubated with 1 microM of double-labelled transferrin (125I-Tf-59Fe) in serum- free DMEM F12 medium or 59Fe II in isotonic sucrose solution at 37 degrees C or 4 degrees C for varying times. The cellular Tf-Fe, Tf and Fe II uptake was analyzed by measuring the intracellular radioactivity with gamma counter. The result showed that Tf-Fe uptake kept increasing in a linear manner at least in the first 30-min. In contrast to Tf-Fe uptake, the internalization of Tf into the cells was rapid initially but then slowed to a plateau level after 10 min. of incubation. The addition of either NH4Cl or CH3NH2, the blockers of Tf-Fe uptake via inhibiting iron release from Tf within endosomes, decreased the cellular Tf-Fe uptake but had no significant effect on Tf uptake. Pre-treated cells with trypsin inhibited significantly the cellular uptake of Tf-Fe as well as Tf. These findings suggested that Tf-Fe transport across the membrane of astrocytes is mediated by Tf-TfR endocytosis. The results of transferrin-free iron uptake indicated that the cultured rat cortical astrocytes had the capacity to acquire Fe II. The highest uptake of Fe II occurred at pH 6. 5. The Fe II uptake was time and temperature dependent, iron concentration saturable, inhibited by several divalent metal ions, such as Co2+, Zn2+, Mn2+ and Ni2+ and not significantly affected by phenylarsine oxide treatment. These characteristics of Fe II uptake by the cultured astrocytes suggested that Fe II uptake is not mediated by TfR and implied that a carrier-mediated iron transport system might be present on the membrane of the cultured cells.[1]


  1. Transferrin-bound and transferrin free iron uptake by cultured rat astrocytes. Qian, Z.M., Liao, Q.K., To, Y., Ke, Y., Tsoi, Y.K., Wang, G.F., Ho, K.P. Cell. Mol. Biol. (Noisy-le-grand) (2000) [Pubmed]
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