Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Altered iron metabolism is one of the pathophysiological mechanisms occurring during hypoxic injuries in the central nervous system. Proper homeostasis of cellular iron is regulated by iron import, storage, and export proteins that prevent excess iron overload or iron starvation in cells. Therapeutic hypothermia is an approved treatment for hypoxic ischemia in newborns, but the underlying molecular mechanism is still unknown. We studied the effects of hypoxia, preceded with preconditioning, on the iron homeostasis of glial cells, known as a major actor in the inflammatory process during perinatal brain injury. Materials and methods: Primary microglia and astrocytes in culture were exposed to 12 h of hypoxia with or without mild hypothermic preconditioning. The mRNA expression was assessed using qPCR. Iron accumulation was visualized via modified Perl's histochemistry. Cytokine levels in cell cultures were measured using ELISA. Results: Hypothermic preconditioning enhanced microglial viability, which previously was decreased in both cell types due to hypoxia. Hypoxia increased iron accumulation in the mixed glial cells and in ferritin expression in both microglia and astrocytes. Hypotermic preconditioning decreased the elevated ferritin-light chain expression significantly in microglia. Iron importer proteins, DMT1 and TfR1, both increased their mRNA expression after hypoxia, and hypothermic preconditioning continued to support the elevation of DMT1 in both glial cell types. Ferroportin expression increased as a survival factor of the glial cell following hypoxia. Hypothermic preconditioning supported this increase in both cell types and was especially significant in astrocytes. IL-10 levels were prominently increased in cell culture after hypothermic preconditioning. Conclusion: The data suggest that hypothermic preconditioning affects cellular iron homeostasis by regulating the storage and transfer proteins of iron. Regulation of the cellular iron traffic may prevent glial cells from experiencing the detrimental effects of hypoxia-related inflammation.


Hypoxic brain injury, glia, iron, ferritin, hypothermia, preconditioning

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