Nickel ions (Ni2+) are eluted from various metallic materials, such as medical devices implanted in human tissues. Previous studies have shown that Ni2+ enters inflammatory cells inducing inflammation. However, the regulation of Ni2+ uptake in cells has not yet been reported in detail. In the present study, we investigated the effects of various divalent cations on Ni2+ uptake and Ni2+-induced interleukin (IL)-8 production in the human monocytic cell line, THP-1. We demonstrated that ZnCl2, MnCl2, and CoCl2 inhibited the Ni2+ uptake, while CuCl2, FeCl2, MgCl2, and divalent metal transporter (DMT)-1 inhibitor, Chlorazol Black, did not. Furthermore, ZnCl2 inhibited Ni2+-induced IL-8 production, correlating with the inhibition of Ni2+ uptake. These results suggested that Ni2+ uptake occurred through Zn2+, Mn2+, and Co2+-sensitive transporters and that the inhibition of Ni2+ uptake resulted in the inhibition of IL-8 production. Furthermore, using an Ni wire-implanted mouse model, we found that Ni wire-induced expression of mouse macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA in the skin tissue surrounding the wire were enhanced by low Zn conditions. These results suggested that the physiological concentration of Zn2+ modulates Ni2+ uptake by inflammatory cells, and a Zn deficient state might increase sensitivity to Ni.
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