A major process of iron homeostasis in whole-body iron metabolism is the release of iron from the macrophages of the reticuloendothelial system. Macrophages recognize and phagocytose senescent or damaged erythrocytes. Then, they process the heme iron, which is returned to the circulation for reutilization by red blood cell precursors during erythropoiesis. The amount of iron released, compared to the amount shunted for storage as ferritin, is greater during iron deficiency. A currently accepted model of iron release assumes a passive-gradient with free diffusion of intracellular labile iron (Fe2+) through ferroportin (FPN), the transporter on the plasma membrane. Outside the cell, a multi-copper ferroxidase, ceruloplasmin (Cp), oxidizes ferrous to ferric ion. Apo-transferrin (Tf), the primary carrier of soluble iron in the plasma, binds ferric ion to form mono-ferric and di-ferric transferrin. According to the passive-gradient model, the removal of ferrous ion from the site of release sustains the gradient that maintains the iron release. Subcellular localization of FPN, however, indicates that the role of FPN may be more complex. By experiments and mathematical modeling, we have investigated the detailed mechanism of iron release from macrophages focusing on the roles of the Cp, FPN and apo-Tf. The passive-gradient model is quantitatively analyzed using a mathematical model for the first time. A comparison of experimental data with model simulations shows that the passive-gradient model cannot explain macrophage iron release. However, a facilitated-transport model associated with FPN can explain the iron release mechanism. According to the facilitated-transport model, intracellular FPN carries labile iron to the macrophage membrane. Extracellular Cp accelerates the oxidation of ferrous ion bound to FPN. Apo-Tf in the extracellular environment binds to the oxidized ferrous ion, completing the release process. Facilitated-transport model can correctly predict cellular iron efflux and is essential for physiologically relevant whole-body model of iron metabolism.
Inflammation is a complex, non-linear process central to many of the diseases that affect both developed and emerging nations. A systems-based understanding of inflammation, coupled to translational applications, is therefore necessary for efficient development of drugs and devices, for streamlining analyses at the level of populations, and for the implementation of personalized medicine. We have carried out an iterative and ongoing program of literature analysis, generation of prospective data, data analysis, and computational modeling in various experimental and clinical inflammatory disease settings. These simulations have been used to gain basic insights into the inflammatory response under baseline, gene-knockout, and drug-treated experimental animals for in silico studies associated with the clinical settings of sepsis, trauma, acute liver failure, and wound healing to create patient-specific simulations in polytrauma, traumatic brain injury, and vocal fold inflammation; and to gain insight into host-pathogen interactions in malaria, necrotizing enterocolitis, and sepsis. These simulations have converged with other systems biology approaches (e.g., functional genomics) to aid in the design of new drugs or devices geared towards modulating inflammation. Since they include both circulating and tissue-level inflammatory mediators, these simulations transcend typical cytokine networks by associating inflammatory processes with tissue/organ impacts via tissue damage/dysfunction. This framework has now allowed us to suggest how to modulate acute inflammation in a rational, individually optimized fashion. This plethora of computational and intertwined experimental/engineering approaches is the cornerstone of Translational Systems Biology approaches for inflammatory diseases.
Hemorrhagic shock (HS) elicits a global acute inflammatory response, organ dysfunction, and death. We have used mathematical modeling of inflammation and tissue damage/dysfunction to gain insight into this complex response in mice. We sought to increase the fidelity of our mathematical model and to establish a platform for testing predictions of this model. Accordingly, we constructed a computerized, closed-loop system for mouse HS. The intensity, duration, and time to achieve target MAP could all be controlled using a software. Fifty-four male C57/black mice either were untreated or underwent surgical cannulation. The cannulated mice were divided into 8 groups: (a) 1, 2, 3, or 4 h of surgical cannulation alone and b) 1, 2, 3, or 4 h of cannulation + HS (25 mmHg). MAP was sustained by the computer-controlled reinfusion and withdrawal of shed blood within +/-2 mmHg. Plasma was assayed for the cytokines TNF, IL-6, and IL-10 as well as the NO reaction products NO2-/NO3-. The cytokine and NO2-/NO3- data were compared with predictions from a mathematical model of post-hemorrhage inflammation, which was calibrated on different data. To varying degrees, the levels of TNF, IL-6, IL-10, and NO2/NO3 predicted by the mathematical model matched these data closely. In conclusion, we have established a hardware/software platform that allows for highly accurate, reproducible, and mathematically predictable HS in mice.
To gain insights into individual variations in acute inflammation and physiology.
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