Zinc modulates endotoxin-induced human macrophage inflammation through ZIP8 induction and C/EBPβ inhibition

Charlie J. Pyle, Saife Akhter, Sheng Ying Bao, Claire E. Dodd, Larry S. Schlesinger, Daren L. Knoell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Two vital functions of the innate immune system are to initiate inflammation and redistribute micronutrients in favor of the host. Zinc is an essential micronutrient used in host defense. The zinc importer ZIP8 is uniquely induced through stimulation of the NF-κB pathway by LPS in monocytes and functions to regulate inflammation in a zinc-dependent manner. Herein we determined the impact of zinc metabolism following LPS-induced inflammation in human macrophages. We observed that ZIP8 is constitutively expressed in resting macrophages and strikingly elevated following LPS exposure, a response that is unique compared to the 13 other known zinc import proteins. During LPS exposure, extracellular zinc concentrations within the physiological range markedly reduced IL-10 mRNA expression and protein release but increased mRNA expression of TNFα, IL-8, and IL-6. ZIP8 knockdown inhibited LPS-driven cellular accumulation of zinc and prevented zinc-dependent reduction of IL-10 release. Further, zinc supplementation reduced nuclear localization and activity of C/EBPβ, a transcription factor known to drive IL-10 expression. These studies demonstrate for the first time that zinc regulates LPS-mediated immune activation of human macrophages in a ZIP8-dependent manner, reducing IL-10. Based on these findings we predict that macrophage zinc metabolism is important in host defense against pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number0169531
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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