Published online Sep 28, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.4499
Revised: September 2, 2009
Accepted: September 9, 2009
Published online: September 28, 2009
AIM: To investigate effects of iron on oxidative stress, heme oxygenase-1 (HMOX1) and hepatitis C viral (HCV) expression in human hepatoma cells stably expressing HCV proteins.
METHODS: Effects of iron on oxidative stress, HMOX1, and HCV expression were assessed in CON1 cells. Measurements included mRNA by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, and protein levels by Western blots.
RESULTS: Iron, in the form of ferric nitrilotriacetate, increased oxidative stress and up-regulated HMOX1 gene expression. Iron did not affect mRNA or protein levels of Bach1, a repressor of HMOX1. Silencing the up-regulation of HMOX1 nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) by Nrf2-siRNA decreased FeNTA-mediated up-regulation of HMOX1 mRNA levels. These iron effects were completely blocked by deferoxamine (DFO). Iron also significantly decreased levels of HCV core mRNA and protein by 80%-90%, nonstructural 5A mRNA by 90% and protein by about 50% in the Con1 full length HCV replicon cells, whereas DFO increased them.
CONCLUSION: Excess iron up-regulates HMOX1 and down-regulates HCV gene expression in hepatoma cells. This probably mitigates liver injury caused by combined iron overload and HCV infection.