J Periodontal Res.2021 Jun;56(3):523-534.doi: 10.1111/jre.12852. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

NCOA4-mediated ferritinophagy promoted inflammatory responses in periodontitis

Wei Guo  1   2 Yunhe Zhao  1   2 Houxuan Li  1 Lang Lei  1 Affiliations

Abstract

Background/objectives: Iron homeostasis plays a crucial role in the combat against pathogen invasion. Ferrous iron can trigger generous production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by Fenton reaction. Nuclear receptor coactivator 4 (NCOA4), a selective cargo receptor to deliver ferritin to lysosome, may trigger release of ferritin-bound iron into the cytosol. The aim of the present study was to explore whether NCOA4-mediated ferritinophagy participated in the pathogenesis of periodontitis, and its role in promoting the periodontal inflammation.

Methods: Inflamed and healthy periodontal tissues were harvested for immunobiological staining of ferritinophagy-related genes in the periodontal tissues, while real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) was utilized to detect mRNA transcription. Periodontal ligament fibroblasts (PDLFs) were isolated and infected with Porphyromonas gingivalis. The mRNA transcription and protein expression of genes involved in the iron metabolism, including NCOA4, transferrin receptor 1 (TFR1), and ferroportin (SLC40A1) were detected by qPCR and western blot. Levels of labile iron pool and ROS production were detected by flow cytometry and confocal endoscopy. Small interference RNA was utilized to knock down NCOA4.

Results: Elevated expression of NCOA4, ferritin heavy chain, and light chain were observed in the diseased periodontal tissues. P. gingivalis infection promoted expression of TFR1, NCOA4, and microtubule-associated protein 1-light chain 3 B (LC3B), enhanced levels of intracellular labile iron pool and ROS production. NCOA4 knockdown reduced ROS generation in PDLFs in response to P. gingivalis and mitigated production of pro-inflammatory monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and interleukin 6. P. gingivalis triggered activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway. In addition, inhibitors of JNK, SP600125, and inhibitors of p38, SB203580 blocked NCOA4 transcription.

Conclusion: NCOA4-ferritinophagy participated in the progress of periodontitis progression. P. gingvalis-triggered ferritinophagy aggravated production of ROS and inflammatory responses in PDLFS. These findings suggest iron homeostasis plays an important role in the pathogenesis of periodontitis.

Keywords: ferritinophagy; nuclear receptor coactivator 4; periodontal diseases; reactive oxygen species.

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