Hemolytic iron regulation in traumatic brain injury and alcohol use

Agnieszka Agas, Arun Reddy Ravula, Xiaotang Ma, Yiming Cheng, Kevin D. Belfield, James Haorah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hemorrhage is a major component of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Red blood cells, accumulated at the hemorrhagic site, undergo hemolysis upon energy depletion and release free iron into the central nervous system. This iron must be managed to prevent iron neurotoxicity and ferroptosis. As prior alcohol consumption is often associated with TBI, we examined iron regulation in a rat model of chronic alcohol feeding subjected to fluid percussion-induced TBI. We found that alcohol consumption prior to TBI altered the expression profiles of the lipocalin 2/heme oxygenase 1/ferritin iron management system. Notably, unlike TBI alone, TBI following chronic alcohol consumption sustained the expression of all three regulatory proteins for 1, 3, and 7 days post-injury. In addition, alcohol significantly affected TBI-induced expression of ferritin light chain at 3 days post-injury. We also found that alcohol exacerbated TBI-induced activation of microglia at 7 days post-injury. Finally, we propose that microglia may also play a role in iron management through red blood cell clearance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Jun 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Alcohol
  • Hemorrhage
  • Iron
  • Microglia
  • TBI


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