MSMU scientists discovered the role of iron in programmed cell death

December 11, 2018

Health care professionals from I.M. Sechenov Moscow State Medical University published a review of scientific articles to illustrate how the atoms of iron initiate ferroptosis - programmed cell death. The article was published in the Free Radical Biology and Medicine journal.

Iron is a part of many biological processes where it acts as a catalyst or oxidizer. Many biologically active structures also contain atoms of iron, for example, the haem of haemoglobin where they play the role of oxygen binders. However, besides vitally important processes, the atoms of iron can also catalyze damaging reactions and cause cell death.

When iron accumulates in a cell it induces the peroxidation of fats (lipids) causing the formation of reactive oxygen species ROS also known as free radicals. These particles are oxygen atoms with one electron on their outer level. This gives ROS high oxidizing capacity and the ability to damage cell organelles and walls. The process of cell death caused by iron accumulation is called ferroptosis.

The above-mentioned mechanism of ferroptosis is not the only one. Scientists also know the second way: reduction of the activity of glutathione peroxidase 4 - a ferment that removes peroxidized compounds, the sources of ROS, from the cell.

Until now, the influence of each mechanism on ferroptosis has been unclear. To understand it, a group of authors including a medic from I.M. Sechenov Moscow State Medical University and his colleagues from the USA and Austria published an extensive review of numerous scientific works dated back to different years. The scientists discovered that the reduction of the activity of glutathione peroxidase 4 plays the biggest role in ferroptosis. Previously, the process of lipid oxidation catalyzed by iron and leading to the formation of ROS was considered as the key element of ferroptosis, as well as other programmed cell death processes - apoptosis and necroptosis. According to the authors of the new review, a reliable proof the lipid oxidation influence on cell death existed only for apoptosis. Studies show that two other programmed cell death processes are caused by different fermentative reactions that take place in the cell. Namely, ferroptosis is likely to be determined by the reduction of the activity of glutathione peroxidase 4.

"Numerous experimental data shows the important role of strictly controlled "looped" iron-dependent cell growth processes and increased cell survival. There are also results illustrating the role of iron in ferroptosis. We suggested a solution combining these two apparently opposite processes. The answer to this puzzle to a great extent depends on the identification of the proteins causing ferroptosis, i.e. those in charge for cell membrane destruction and cell death," says Sergey Bolevich, MD, a co-author of the work, head of the Department of Human Pathology at I.M. Sechenov Moscow State Medical University.

Sechenov University

Related Cell Death Articles from Brightsurf:

Cell death in porpoises caused by environmental pollutants
Environmental pollutants threaten the health of marine mammals. This study established a novel cell-based assay using the fibroblasts of a finless porpoise stranded along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, Japan, to better understand the cytotoxicity and the impacts of environmental pollutants on the porpoise population.

Gold nanoparticles to save neurons from cell death
An international research team coordinated by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Lecce (Italy) has developed gold nanoparticles able to reduce the cell death of neurons exposed to overexcitement.

New light shone on inflammatory cell death regulator
Australian researchers have made significant advances in understanding the inflammatory cell death regulatory protein MLKL and its role in disease.

Silicones may lead to cell death
Silicone molecules from breast implants can initiate processes in human cells that lead to cell death.

New players in the programmed cell death mechanism
Skoltech researchers have identified a set of proteins that are important in the process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

Tumors hijack the cell death pathway to live
Cancer cells avoid an immune system attack after radiation by commandeering a cell signaling pathway that helps dying cells avoid triggering an immune response, a new study led by UTSW scientists suggests.

How trans fats assist cell death
Tohoku University researchers in Japan have uncovered a molecular link between some trans fats and a variety of disorders, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

Bacteria can 'outsmart' programmed cell death
To be able to multiply, bacteria that cause diarrhoea block mediators of programmed cell death, a new study in 'Nature Microbiology' shows.

Cell death or cancer growth: A question of cohesion
Activation of CD95, a receptor found on all cancer cells, triggers programmed cell death -- or does the opposite, namely stimulates cancer cell growth.

Cell death blocker prevents healthy cells from dying
Researchers have discovered a proof-of-concept drug that can prevent healthy cells from dying in the laboratory.

Read More: Cell Death News and Cell Death Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to