Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and lipoteichoic acid (LTA), the Gram-negative and the Gram-positive bacterial cell wall components are important mediators of neuroinflammation in sepsis. LPS and LTA are potent activators of microglial cells which induce the production of various pro-inflammatory cytokines. It has been demonstrated that disturbance of iron homeostasis of the brain is one of the underlying causes of neuronal cell death but the mechanisms contributing to this process are still questionable. In the present study, we established monocultures of differentiated SH-SY5Y cells and co-cultures of differentiated SH-SY5Y cells and BV-2 microglia as neuronal model systems to selectively examine the effect of inflammatory mediators LPS and LTA on iron homeostasis of SH-SY5Y cells both in mono- and co-cultures. We monitored the IL-6 and TNFα secretions of the treated cells and determined the mRNA and protein levels of iron importers (transferrin receptor-1 and divalent metal transporter-1), and iron storing genes (ferritin heavy chain and mitochondrial ferritin). Moreover, we examined the relation between hepcidin secretion and intracellular iron content. Our data revealed that LPS and LTA triggered distinct responses in SH-SY5Y cells by differently changing the expressions of iron uptake, as well as cytosolic and mitochondrial iron storage proteins. Moreover, they increased the total iron contents of the cells but at different rates. The presence of BV-2 microglial cells influenced the reactions of SH-SY5Y cells on both LPS and LTA treatments: iron uptake and iron storage, as well as the neuronal cytokine production have been modulated. Our results demonstrate that BV-2 cells alter the iron metabolism of SH-SY5Y cells, they contribute to the iron accumulation of SH-SY5Y cells by manipulating the effects of LTA and LPS proving that microglia are important regulators of neuronal iron metabolism at neuroinflammation.
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