HFE gene variants and iron-induced oxygen radical generation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Federica Sangiuolo, Ermanno Puxeddu, Gabriella Pezzuto, Francesco Cavalli, Giuliana Longo, Alessia Comandini, Donato Di Pierro, Marco Pallante, Gianluigi Sergiacomi, Giovanni Simonetti, Maurizio Zompatori, Augusto Orlandi, Andrea Magrini, Massimo Amicosante, Francesca Mariani, Monica Losi, Daniela Fraboni, Alberto Bisetti, Cesare Saltini
European Respiratory Journal: Official Journal of the European Society for Clinical Respiratory Physiology 2015, 45 (2): 483-90
In idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), lung accumulation of excessive extracellular iron and macrophage haemosiderin may suggest disordered iron homeostasis leading to recurring microscopic injury and fibrosing damage. The current study population comprised 89 consistent IPF patients and 107 controls. 54 patients and 11 controls underwent bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Haemosiderin was assessed by Perls' stain, BAL fluid malondialdehyde (MDA) by high-performance liquid chromatography, BAL cell iron-dependent oxygen radical generation by fluorimetry and the frequency of hereditary haemochromatosis HFE gene variants by reverse dot blot hybridisation. Macrophage haemosiderin, BAL fluid MDA and BAL cell unstimulated iron-dependent oxygen radical generation were all significantly increased above controls (p<0.05). The frequency of C282Y, S65C and H63D HFE allelic variants was markedly higher in IPF compared with controls (40.4% versus 22.4%, OR 2.35, p=0.008) and was associated with higher iron-dependent oxygen radical generation (HFE variant 107.4±56.0, HFE wild type (wt) 59.4±36.4 and controls 16.7±11.8 fluorescence units per 10(5) BAL cells; p=0.028 HFE variant versus HFE wt, p=0.006 HFE wt versus controls). The data suggest iron dysregulation associated with HFE allelic variants may play an important role in increasing susceptibility to environmental exposures, leading to recurring injury and fibrosis in IPF.

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