Specific binding sites for H-ferritin on human lymphocytes: Modulation during cellular proliferation and potential implication in cell growth control

S. Fargion, A. L. Fracanzani, B. Brando, P. Arosio, S. Levi, G. Fiorelli

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Interactions between human recombinant H- and L-ferritins and human lymphocytes were studied in vitro by direct binding assays and by flow cytometry. L-ferritin did not cause detectable specific binding, whereas H-ferritin showed a specific and saturable binding that increased markedly in phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated cells. This ferritin bound up to 30% of CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocytes and most B cells, indicating that expression of ferritin binding sites is not related to cell lineage or function. Dual-color flow cytometry experiments showed that ferritin binding sites were present on cells expressing the proliferation markers HLA-DR, MLR3, interleukin 2 (IL-2), and transferrin receptors (Tf-R). In addition, after PHA induction, the time course of the expression of H-ferritin binding sites was similar to those of the above proliferation markers. Ferritin binding sites were observed in lymphocytes at all cell cycle phases, including the early S-phase. H-Ferritin at nanomolar and picomolar concentrations had an inhibitory effect on PHA-induced blastogenesis. We propose that H-ferritin binding sites behave like proliferation markers, with the unusual function of downregulating proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1061
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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