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      Heme as a Target for Therapeutic Interventions

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          Heme is a complex of iron and the tetrapyrrole protoporphyrin IX with essential functions in aerobic organisms. Heme is the prosthetic group of hemoproteins such as hemoglobin and myoglobin, which are crucial for reversible oxygen binding and transport. By contrast, high levels of free heme, which may occur in various pathophysiological conditions, are toxic via pro-oxidant, pro-inflammatory and cytotoxic effects. The toxicity of heme plays a major role for the pathogenesis of prototypical hemolytic disorders including sickle cell disease and malaria. Moreover, there is increasing appreciation that detrimental effects of heme may also be critically involved in diseases, which usually are not associated with hemolysis such as severe sepsis and atherosclerosis. In mammalians homeostasis of heme and its potential toxicity are primarily controlled by two physiological systems. First, the scavenger protein hemopexin (Hx) non-covalently binds extracellular free heme with high affinity and attenuates toxicity of heme in plasma. Second, heme oxygenases (HOs), in particular the inducible HO isozyme, HO-1, can provide antioxidant cytoprotection via enzymatic degradation of intracellular heme. This review summarizes current knowledge on the pathophysiological role of heme for various diseases as demonstrated in experimental animal models and in humans. The functional significance of Hx and HOs for the regulation of heme homeostasis is highlighted. Finally, the therapeutic potential of pharmacological strategies that apply Hx and HO-1 in various clinical settings is discussed.

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          Of mice and not men: differences between mouse and human immunology.

          Mice are the experimental tool of choice for the majority of immunologists and the study of their immune responses has yielded tremendous insight into the workings of the human immune system. However, as 65 million years of evolution might suggest, there are significant differences. Here we outline known discrepancies in both innate and adaptive immunity, including: balance of leukocyte subsets, defensins, Toll receptors, inducible NO synthase, the NK inhibitory receptor families Ly49 and KIR, FcR, Ig subsets, the B cell (BLNK, Btk, and lambda5) and T cell (ZAP70 and common gamma-chain) signaling pathway components, Thy-1, gammadelta T cells, cytokines and cytokine receptors, Th1/Th2 differentiation, costimulatory molecule expression and function, Ag-presenting function of endothelial cells, and chemokine and chemokine receptor expression. We also provide examples, such as multiple sclerosis and delayed-type hypersensitivity, where complex multicomponent processes differ. Such differences should be taken into account when using mice as preclinical models of human disease.
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            The acute phase response.

            Adult mammals respond to tissue damage by implementing the acute phase response, which comprises a series of specific physiological reactions. This review outlines the principal cellular and molecular mechanisms that control initiation of the tissue response at the site of injury, the recruitment of the systemic defense mechanisms, the acute phase response of the liver and the resolution of the acute phase response.
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              Curcumin activates the haem oxygenase-1 gene via regulation of Nrf2 and the antioxidant-responsive element.

              The transcription factor Nrf2, which normally exists in an inactive state as a consequence of binding to a cytoskeleton-associated protein Keap1, can be activated by redox-dependent stimuli. Alteration of the Nrf2-Keap1 interaction enables Nrf2 to translocate to the nucleus, bind to the antioxidant-responsive element (ARE) and initiate the transcription of genes coding for detoxifying enzymes and cytoprotective proteins. This response is also triggered by a class of electrophilic compounds including polyphenols and plant-derived constituents. Recently, the natural antioxidants curcumin and caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) have been identified as potent inducers of haem oxygenase-1 (HO-1), a redox-sensitive inducible protein that provides protection against various forms of stress. Here, we show that in renal epithelial cells both curcumin and CAPE stimulate the expression of Nrf2 in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. This effect was associated with a significant increase in HO-1 protein expression and haem oxygenase activity. From several lines of investigation we also report that curcumin (and, by inference, CAPE) stimulates ho-1 gene activity by promoting inactivation of the Nrf2-Keap1 complex, leading to increased Nrf2 binding to the resident ho-1 AREs. Moreover, using antibodies and specific inhibitors of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, we provide data implicating p38 MAPK in curcumin-mediated ho-1 induction. Taken together, these results demonstrate that induction of HO-1 by curcumin and CAPE requires the activation of the Nrf2/ARE pathway.

                Author and article information

                Front Pharmacol
                Front Pharmacol
                Front. Pharmacol.
                Frontiers in Pharmacology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                04 April 2017
                : 8
                1Institute for Transfusion Medicine, Hannover Medical School Hannover, Germany
                2Department of Pulmonology, Hannover Medical School Hannover, Germany
                3Department of Nephrology, Hannover Medical School Hannover, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: David Sacerdoti, University of Padua, Italy

                Reviewed by: Nader G. Abraham, New York Medical College, USA; Mahin D. Maines, University of Rochester, USA; Viktória Jeney, University of Debrecen, Hungary; Leo E. Otterbein, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (HMS), USA

                *Correspondence: Stephan Immenschuh immenschuh.stephan@

                This article was submitted to Inflammation Pharmacology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology

                In Memoriam: This review is in memory of Ursula Muller-Eberhard who passed away on November 15, 2016.

                Copyright © 2017 Immenschuh, Vijayan, Janciauskiene and Gueler.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 197, Pages: 15, Words: 12805
                Funded by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft 10.13039/501100001659
                Award ID: IM 20/4-1
                Funded by: Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung 10.13039/501100003042
                Award ID: EKFS 2012_A309


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