Iron increases expression of iron-export protein MTP1 in lung cells
Accumulation of reactive iron in acute and chronic lung disease suggests that iron-driven free radical formation could contribute to tissue injury. Safe transport and sequestration of this metal is likely to be of importance in lung defense. We provide evidence for the expression and iron-induced upregulation of the metal transporter protein-1 (MTP1) genes in human and rodent lung cells at both the protein and mRNA levels. In human bronchial epithelial cells, a 3.8-fold increase in mRNA level and a 2.4-fold increase in protein level of MTP1 were observed after iron exposure. In freshly isolated human macrophages, as much as an 18-fold increase in the MTP1 protein level was detected after incubation with an iron compound. The elevation in expression of MTP1 gene was also demonstrated in iron-instilled rat lungs and in hypotransferrinemic mouse lungs. This is similar to our previous findings with divalent metal transporter-1 (DMT1), an iron transporter that is required for iron uptake and intracellular iron trafficking. These studies suggest the presence of iron mobilization and/or detoxification pathways in the lung that are crucial for iron homeostasis and lung defense.