Contributions of transferrin to acute inflammation in the goldfish,C. auratus

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Transferrin is an evolutionary conserved protein that in addition to having a critical role in iron transport also has been shown to have a crucial role in host defence, by depriving iron from invading pathogens. Recently cleaved transferrin products was shown to activate macrophages in vitro. We now use an in vivo model of self-resolving peritonitis in goldfish, coupled with gene expression and protein analysis to evaluate the contributions of cleaved transferrin to acute inflammation. We show, for the first time, that cleaved transferrin products are produced in vivo early during an acute inflammatory response. These cleaved transferrin fragments were produced during pathogen-induced, but not sterile, inflammation. Both macrophages and neutrophils were able to contribute to transferrin cleavage. However, only macrophages contributed to this innate process through inducible expression of transferrin. The appearance of transferrin cleavage products in vivo correlated with the influx of leukocytes but did not necessarily correlate the induction of robust respiratory burst and nitric oxide responses. Overall, this study adds to a growing body of work highlighting the role of transferrin as an immune regulator during acute inflammation. Given the significant conservation of this and related molecules, these findings have potentially broad implications for host defences and inflammation control across evolution.

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