A lactoferrin receptor has been found on the brush-border membrane of intestinal epithelial cells of several species, including humans. A role for this receptor in intestinal iron absorption, which is well regulated in response to body iron stores, has been proposed. We have investigated the effect of intracellular iron depletion by picolinic acid, an iron chelator, on the cell surface binding of human lactoferrin to human enterocytes and its intracellular uptake, using HT29-18-C1 cells, an enterocyte-like differentiable cell line. The confluent cells exhibited 5.8 x 10(6) specific binding sites per cell for diferric human 125I-labelled lactoferrin with relatively low affinity (Kd 8.4 x 10(-7) M). The addition of picolinic acid to the culture medium resulted in a concentration- and time-dependent increase in lactoferrin binding that was correlated with a decrease in intracellular iron content. The maximum effect of picolinic acid on lactoferrin binding (approx. 2-fold increase), which appeared between 12 and 18 h after its addition, was obtained at a picolinic acid concentration of 2 mM. Scatchard analysis showed that the enhanced lactoferrin binding resulted from an increase in the number of lactoferrin receptors rather than an alteration in the binding affinity for lactoferrin. The time-dependent effect of picolinic acid was completely abolished in the presence of 1 microM anisomycin, a protein synthesis inhibitor, indicating that ongoing protein synthesis is involved in this effect. The enhanced lactoferrin binding induced by picolinic acid produced an increase of approx. 30% in the uptake of lactoferrin-bound 59Fe, indicating the existence of functional receptors. These results suggest that biosynthesis of lactoferrin receptors in intestinal epithelial cells can be regulated in response to the levels of intracellular chelatable iron, consistent with intestinal iron absorption dependent on body iron stores.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.