Abstract by Shelby Harris
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Cellular Iron Regulation: Blessing and Bane
Osteoarthritis affects at least 30 million Americans today, and shows connections to chronic inflammation and iron regulatory problems. The organs it affects are isolated from the blood stream by barriers making their inflammatory and iron regulatory signals different from other organs. In this work, we compared a surgically-induced osteoarthritic and healthy rats and stained for the common iron regulatory proteins in the chondrocytes of their knees. Our work thus far has demonstrated a significant difference in the relative abundance of these proteins, suggesting distinct iron regulation in these models. Notably, hepcidin expression is lower in osteoarthritic rat chondrocytes than in healthy, a result that runs counter to our current understanding of the inflammatory response. This data is supplemented with in vitro experiments using a primary culture of human chondrocytes and immortalized liver cells treated with inflammatory stimuli. Then, relative iron levels and its regulatory proteins are measured in order to determine if there is a differential response to the same inflammatory stimulus between the two cell types.