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Revisiting the putative role of heme as a trigger of inflammation


Vallelian, Florence; Schaer, Christian A; Deuel, Jeremy W; Ingoglia, Giada; Humar, Rok; Buehler, Paul W; Schaer, Dominik J (2018). Revisiting the putative role of heme as a trigger of inflammation. Pharmacology Research & Perspectives, 6(2):e00392.

Abstract

Activation of the innate immune system by free heme has been proposed as one of the principal consequences of cell-free hemoglobin (Hb) exposure. Nonetheless, in the absence of infection, heme exposures within a hematoma, during hemolysis, or upon systemic administration of Hb (eg, as a Hb-based oxygen carrier) are typically not accompanied by uncontrolled inflammation, challenging the assumption that heme is a major proinflammatory mediator in vivo. Because of its hydrophobic nature, heme liberated from oxidized hemoglobin is rapidly transferred to alternative protein-binding sites (eg, albumin) or to hydrophobic lipid compartments minimizing protein-free heme under in vivo equilibrium conditions. We demonstrate that the capacity of heme to activate human neutrophil granulocytes strictly depends on the availability of non protein-associated heme. In human endothelial cells as well as in mouse macrophage cell cultures and in mouse models of local and systemic heme exposure, protein-associated heme or Hb do not induce inflammatory gene expression over a broad range of exposure conditions. Only experiments in protein-free culture medium demonstrated a weak capacity of heme-solutions to induce toll-like receptor-(TLR4) dependent TNF-alpha expression in macrophages. Our data suggests that the equilibrium-state of free and protein-associated heme critically determines the proinflammatory capacity of the metallo-porphyrin. Based on these data it appears unlikely that inflammation-promoting equilibrium conditions could ever occur in vivo.

Abstract

Activation of the innate immune system by free heme has been proposed as one of the principal consequences of cell-free hemoglobin (Hb) exposure. Nonetheless, in the absence of infection, heme exposures within a hematoma, during hemolysis, or upon systemic administration of Hb (eg, as a Hb-based oxygen carrier) are typically not accompanied by uncontrolled inflammation, challenging the assumption that heme is a major proinflammatory mediator in vivo. Because of its hydrophobic nature, heme liberated from oxidized hemoglobin is rapidly transferred to alternative protein-binding sites (eg, albumin) or to hydrophobic lipid compartments minimizing protein-free heme under in vivo equilibrium conditions. We demonstrate that the capacity of heme to activate human neutrophil granulocytes strictly depends on the availability of non protein-associated heme. In human endothelial cells as well as in mouse macrophage cell cultures and in mouse models of local and systemic heme exposure, protein-associated heme or Hb do not induce inflammatory gene expression over a broad range of exposure conditions. Only experiments in protein-free culture medium demonstrated a weak capacity of heme-solutions to induce toll-like receptor-(TLR4) dependent TNF-alpha expression in macrophages. Our data suggests that the equilibrium-state of free and protein-associated heme critically determines the proinflammatory capacity of the metallo-porphyrin. Based on these data it appears unlikely that inflammation-promoting equilibrium conditions could ever occur in vivo.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic and Policlinic for Internal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:12 Jul 2018 09:14
Last Modified:01 Aug 2018 01:03
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:2052-1707
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/prp2.392
PubMed ID:29610666

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