Ischaemic stroke is becoming the most common cerebral disease in aging populations, but the underlying molecular mechanism of the disease has not yet been fully elucidated. Increasing evidence has indicated that an excess of iron contributes to brain damage in cerebral ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. Although mitochondrial ferritin (FtMt) plays a critical role in iron homeostasis, the molecular function of FtMt in I/R remains unknown. We herein report that FtMt levels are upregulated in the ischaemic brains of mice. Mice lacking FtMt experience more severe brain damage and neurological deficits, accompanied by typical molecular features of ferroptosis, including increased lipid peroxidation and disturbed glutathione (GSH) after cerebral I/R. Conversely, FtMt overexpression reverses these changes. Further investigation shows that Ftmt ablation promotes I/R-induced inflammation and hepcidin-mediated decreases in ferroportin1, thus markedly increasing total and chelatable iron. The elevated iron consequently facilitates ferroptosis in the brain of I/R. In brief, our results provide evidence that FtMt plays a critical role in protecting against cerebral I/R-induced ferroptosis and subsequent brain damage, thus providing a new potential target for the treatment/prevention of ischaemic stroke.
Wang, P., Cui, Y., Ren, Q. et al. Mitochondrial ferritin attenuates cerebral ischaemia/reperfusion injury by inhibiting ferroptosis. Cell Death Dis 12, 447 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41419-021-03725-5