Annals of hematology

Reactive oxygen species mediated T lymphocyte abnormalities in an iron-overloaded mouse model and iron-overloaded patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.

PMID 28421266


The adverse effects of iron overload have raised more concerns as a growing number of studies reported its association with immune disorders. This study aimed to investigate alterations in the immune system by iron overload in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and an iron-overloaded mouse model. The peripheral blood from patients was harvested to test the effect of iron overload on the subsets of T lymphocytes, and the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was also evaluated. The data showed that iron-overloaded patients had a lower percentage of CD3(+) T cells and disrupted T cell subsets, concomitant with higher ROS level in lymphocytes. In order to explore the mechanism, male C57Bl/6 mice were intraperitoneally injected with iron dextran at a dose of 250 mg/kg every 3 days for 4 weeks to establish an iron-overloaded mouse model and the blood of each mouse was collected for the analysis of the T lymphocyte subsets and T cell apoptosis. The results showed that iron overload could reduce the percentage of CD3(+) T cells and the ratio of Th1/Th2 and Tc1/Tc2 but increase the percentage of regulatory T (Treg) cells and the ratio of CD4/CD8. We also found that iron overload induced the apoptosis of T lymphocytes and increased its ROS level. Furthermore, these effects could be partially recovered after treating with antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) or iron chelator deferasirox (DFX). Taken together, these observations indicated that iron overload could selectively affect peripheral T lymphocytes and induce an impaired cellular immunity by increasing ROS level.

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