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Iron oxide nanoparticles promote macrophage autophagy and inflammatory response through activation of toll-like Receptor-4 signaling

Jin, Rongrong, Liu, Li, Zhu, Wencheng, Li, Danyang, Yang, Li, Duan, Jimei, Cai, Zhongyuan, Nie, Yu, Zhang, Yunjiao, Gong, Qiyong, Song, Bin, Wen, Longping, Anderson, James M., Ai, Hua
Biomaterials 2019 v.203 pp. 23-30
Toll-like receptor 4, autophagy, cytokines, cytotoxicity, endosomes, gene expression, gene expression regulation, image analysis, inflammation, iron oxides, liver, lysosomes, macrophages, messenger RNA, metabolism, mice, nanoparticles, phosphorylation, signal transduction, therapeutics
Nanoparticle-induced autophagy is crucial for its metabolism, cytotoxicity and therapy potency, but little is known about how the host immune system would respond to it. In this study, we demonstrated that two clinically used superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) specifically induced macrophage autophagy through activation of TLR4, followed by phosphorylation of p38 and nucleus translocation of Nrf2, leading to upregulation of p62/SQSTM1 and macrophage scavenger receptor SR-AI mRNA expression. Overexpressed p62 conjugated with LC3 to form aggresome-like induced structures (ALIS) and then fused with SPIONs containing endosomes and lysosomes to form autolysosomes for degradation of endocytosed nanoparticles. More importantly, SPIONs also could promote macrophage autophagy in mouse liver which is their imaging target. We also discovered that SPIONs could stimulate the expression of inflammatory cytokines through activation of TLR4 signaling in macrophage. In general, our findings indicate that SPIONs would interact with TLR4 on the macrophage membrane and trigger its downstream signaling pathway, independent of the classic autophagic p62 reduction pathway. The observed autophagy and induced inflammatory responses in macrophages provide unique and novel perspectives in optimizing imaging/therapy nanoparticle performance in addition to analysis by traditional biochemical evaluation methods. It also enriches our understanding of NP/macrophage interaction mechanisms in reticular endothelial system (RES) organs.