To determine whether the hypoferremic response to inflammation requires neutrophils, we administered human recombinant IL-1 to mice made neutropenic with cyclophosphamide. With single intraperitoneal injections of IL-1 the plasma iron concentrations decreased significantly in mice with either normal neutrophil counts or neutropenia. After single injections transferrin concentrations were not significantly changed, but the decrease in serum iron lowered mean transferrin saturations from a baseline of 45 to 24-30% in nonneutropenic mice, and from 99 to 70-77% in neutropenic mice. Similar changes were observed after intraperitoneal injections of Escherichia coli. 4-d continuous infusions of IL-1 also led to reductions in serum iron concentrations, but transferrin concentrations doubled. The combination of a decrease in serum iron and an increase in transferrin concentration after chronic infusion in neutropenic mice led to a greater decline in mean transferrin saturations, from a baseline of 110 to 25%. In mice not given cyclophosphamide, chronic IL-1 infusion was associated with a reduction in mean hemoglobin concentrations from 14.7 to 13.5 g/dl, consistent with restricted availability of iron for erythropoiesis associated with low saturation of transferrin. We conclude that IL-1 can decrease the serum iron despite profound peripheral neutropenia and that transferrin in a positive acute phase reactant in the mouse.


V R Gordeuk, P Prithviraj, T Dolinar, G M Brittenham


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