Plasma iron controls neutrophil production and function.
Frost JN., Wideman SK., Preston AE., Teh MR., Ai Z., Wang L., Cross A., White N., Yazicioglu Y., Bonadonna M., Clarke AJ., Armitage AE., Galy B., Udalova IA., Drakesmith H.
Low plasma iron (hypoferremia) induced by hepcidin is a conserved inflammatory response that protects against infections but inhibits erythropoiesis. How hypoferremia influences leukocytogenesis is unclear. Using proteomic data, we predicted that neutrophil production would be profoundly more iron-demanding than generation of other white blood cell types. Accordingly in mice, hepcidin-mediated hypoferremia substantially reduced numbers of granulocytes but not monocytes, lymphocytes, or dendritic cells. Neutrophil rebound after anti-Gr-1-induced neutropenia was blunted during hypoferremia but was rescued by supplemental iron. Similarly, hypoferremia markedly inhibited pharmacologically stimulated granulopoiesis mediated by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and inflammation-induced accumulation of neutrophils in the spleen and peritoneal cavity. Furthermore, hypoferremia specifically altered neutrophil effector functions, suppressing antibacterial mechanisms but enhancing mitochondrial reactive oxygen species-dependent NETosis associated with chronic inflammation. Notably, antagonizing endogenous hepcidin during acute inflammation enhanced production of neutrophils. We propose plasma iron modulates the profile of innate immunity by controlling monocyte-to-neutrophil ratio and neutrophil activity in a therapeutically targetable system.