Cell Death Discov.2020 Nov 10;6(1):119.doi: 10.1038/s41420-020-00356-1.

Periodontitis-level butyrate-induced ferroptosis in periodontal ligament fibroblasts by activation of ferritinophagy

Yunhe Zhao  1   2 Jiao Li  1 Wei Guo  1   2 Houxuan Li  3 Lang Lei  4   5 Affiliations

Free PMC article


Loss of periodontal ligament fibroblasts (PDLFs) is one critical issue for regenerating lost periodontal tissues. A wide variety of regulated cell death pathways, such as apoptosis, pyroptosis, and necroptosis have been proposed in the periodontitis development. The aim of the present study was to explore whether long-term periodontitis-level butyrate may trigger ferroptosis, a newly characterized iron-dependent regulated cell death in PDLFs. Here, we showed that long-term treatment of butyrate, an important short-chain fatty acid in the periodontal pocket, induces the cargo receptor nuclear receptor coactivator 4 (NCOA4)-mediated ferritinophagy and ferroptosis in PDLFs. Butyrate-induced iron accumulation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, glutathione depletion and lipid peroxidation in PDLFs, and the butyrate-induced ferroptosis can be blocked by the lipid peroxide scavenger ferrostatin-1. The NCOA4-mediated ferritinophagy is dependent on p38/hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) pathway activation as well as Bromodomain-containing protein (BRD) 4 and cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) coordination. These lines of evidence provide a new mechanistic insight into the mechanism of loss of PDLFs during periodontitis development, showing that periodontitis-level butyrate disrupted iron homeostasis by activation of NCOA4-mediated ferritinophagy, leading to ferroptosis in PDLFs.