Autophagic (type II) cell death, characterized by the massive accumulation of autophagic vacuoles in the cytoplasm of cells, has been suggested to play pathogenetic roles in cerebral ischemia, brain trauma, and neurodegenerative disorders. 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy) is an illicit drug causing long-term neurotoxicity in the brain. Apoptotic (type I) and necrotic (type III) cell death have been implicated in MDMA-induced neurotoxicity, while the role of autophagy in MDMA-elicited neurotoxicity has not been investigated. The present study aimed to evaluate the occurrence and contribution of autophagy to neurotoxicity in cultured rat cortical neurons challenged with MDMA. Autophagy activation was monitored by expression of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3; an autophagic marker) using immunofluorescence and western blot analysis. Here, we demonstrate that MDMA exposure induced monodansylcadaverine (MDC)- and LC3B-densely stained autophagosome formation and increased conversion of LC3B-I to LC3B-II, coinciding with the neurodegenerative phase of MDMA challenge. Autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) pretreatment significantly attenuated MDMA-induced autophagosome accumulation, LC3B-II expression, and ameliorated MDMA-triggered neurite damage and neuronal death. In contrast, enhanced autophagy flux by rapamycin or impaired autophagosome clearance by bafilomycin A1 led to more autophagosome accumulation in neurons and aggravated neurite degeneration, indicating that excessive autophagosome accumulation contributes to MDMA-induced neurotoxicity. Furthermore, MDMA induced phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and its downstream unc-51-like kinase 1 (ULK1), suggesting the AMPK/ULK1 signaling pathway might be involved in MDMA-induced autophagy activation.
Perfluorinated organic compounds (PFOCs) are emerging persistent organic pollutants (POPs) widely present in the environment, wildlife and human. We studied the cellular toxicology of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) on oxidative stress and induction of apoptosis in primary cultured hepatocytes of freshwater tilapia ( ). Cultured hepatocytes were exposed to PFOS or PFOA (0, 1, 5, 15 and 30 mg L ) for 24 h, and a dose-dependent decrease in cell viability was determined using trypan blue exclusion method. Significant induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) accompanied by increases in activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione reductase (GR) were found, while activities of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione- -transferase (GST) were decreased. Glutathione (GSH) content was reduced following treatment of PFOA and PFOS. A dose-dependent increase in the lipid peroxidation (LPO) level (measured as maleic dialdehyde, MDA) was observed only in the PFOA exposure groups, whereas LPO remained unchanged in the PFOS exposure groups. Furthermore, a significant activation of caspase-3, -8, -9 activities was evident in both PFOS and PFOA exposure groups. Typical DNA fragmentation (DNA laddering) was further characterized by agarose gel electrophoresis. The overall results demonstrated that PFOS and PFOA are able to produce oxidative stress and induce apoptosis with involvement of caspases in primary cultured tilapia hepatocytes.
This study aimed to determine whether heat stress (HS) could induce autophagy in immature boar Sertoli cells (SCs) and test whether HS-induced autophagy could regulate lactate secretion by SCs. Cultured immature boar SCs were incubated at 43 °C for 30 minutes. The ratio of LC3B-II to LC3B-I and the mRNA transcript levels of showed time-dependent changes 0 to 48 hours after HS treatment, which peaked at 24 hours and increased by 30.25% or 260%, respectively, compared with control SCs. The density of autolysosomes, which were labeled with a red dye, was higher at 24 hours than at any other time point. However, the apoptosis rate, cleavage of caspase-3, and mRNA transcript levels of (caspase-3) at 24 hours after HS were lower than at 12 hours. Furthermore, lactate secretion, and mRNA transcript levels of (GLUT3), (LDHA), and (MCT1) also showed time-dependent changes with a peak at 24 hours. In addition, LY294002 (20 μM) significantly inhibited changes in ratio of LC3B-II to LC3B-I, mRNA transcript levels, and autolysosome formation. It also resulted in significantly less lactate secretion and increased apoptosis but showed no effect on B-cell lymphoma-2 expression in heat-treated immature SCs. These findings indicated that HS-induced autophagy regulates lactate secretion by inhibiting apoptosis and increasing mRNA transcript and protein levels of SLC2A3, LDHA, and SLC16A1, which suggests that HS-induced autophagy may enhance lactate secretion by SCs.
How mitochondrial dynamism (fission and fusion) affects mitochondrial quality control is unclear. We uncovered distinct effects on mitophagy of inhibiting Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission versus mitofusin-mediated mitochondrial fusion. Conditional cardiomyocyte-specific Drp1 ablation evoked mitochondrial enlargement, lethal dilated cardiomyopathy, and cardiomyocyte necrosis. Conditionally ablating cardiomyocyte mitofusins (Mfn) caused mitochondrial fragmentation with eccentric remodeling and no cardiomyocyte dropout. Parallel studies in cultured murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and in vivo mouse hearts revealed that Mfn1/Mfn2 deletion provoked accumulation of defective mitochondria exhibiting an unfolded protein response, without appropriately increasing mitophagy. Conversely, interrupting mitochondrial fission by Drp1 ablation increased mitophagy and caused a generalized loss of mitochondria. Mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) opening in Drp1 null mitochondria was associated with mitophagy in MEFs and contributed to cardiomyocyte necrosis and dilated cardiomyopathy in mice. Drp1, MPTP, and cardiomyocyte mitophagy are functionally integrated. Mitochondrial fission and fusion have opposing roles during in vivo cardiac mitochondrial quality control. Mitochondrial health is essential to heart function; how cardiac mitochondrial fission and fusion relate to organelle quality control is unclear. Song et al. reported that inhibiting mitochondrial fission and fusion contrarily affects mitophagy, cell viability, and cardiac remodeling, uncovering their roles beyond controlling mitochondrial morphology in an integrated homeosatatic pathway.
The present study explored the effect of 2,3,5,4′-tetrahydroxystilbene-2-O-β- -glucoside (THSG) on the staurosporine (STS)-induced toxicity in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. The results showed that administration of 200 μM of THSG significantly protected against 0.3 μM of STS-induced apoptosis in cultured rat hippocampal neurons tested by methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium (MTT) and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assays. Furthermore, when the Akt signaling pathway was blocked by LY294002, an inhibitor of Phosphatidyl Inositol 3-kinase (PI3K), the protective effects of THSG against STS-induced neurotoxicity were abrogated. We further examined the involvement of PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in THSG protection against STS-induced cytotoxicity on cultured neurons and found that administration of THSG significantly inhibited the STS-induced decreases in the content of phosphorylated AKt (p-Akt). Moreover, we found that THSG rescued the down-regulation of B cell lymphoma/lewkmia-2 (Bcl ) and pro-caspase-3 (pro-Csp3) caused by STS in the neurons. These results indicate that THSG protect the cultured rat hippocampal neurons against STS-induced cytotoxicity and the PI3K/Akt signaling and mitochondrial apoptotic pathways are involved in the THSG-induced protective effects.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) represents more than 5% of all cancers diagnosed annually in United States and around the world. Despite advances in the management of patients with this disease, the survival has not been significantly improved, and the search for potential alternative therapies is encouraging. Here we demonstrate that deguelin administration causes a significant HNSCC cell death. Deguelin induces both cell apoptosis and autophagy by modulating multiple signaling pathways in cultured HNSCC cells. Deguelin inhibits Akt signaling, and down-regulates survivin and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (Cdk4) expressions, by disrupting their association with heat shock protein-90 (Hsp-90). Deguelin induces ceramide production through de novo synthase pathway to promote HNSCC cell death. Importantly, increased ceramide level activates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which then directly phosphorylates Ulk1 and eventually leads to cell autophagy. We found that a low dose of deguelin sensitized HNSCC cells to 5-FU. Finally, using a nude mice Hep-2 xenograft model, we also showed a significant anti-tumor ability of deguelin in vivo. Together, we suggest that deguelin may represent a novel and effective chemo-agent against HNSCC.
The complex network of neuronal cells in the retina makes it a potential target of neuronal toxicity - a risk factor for visual loss. With growing use of nanoparticles (NPs) in commercial and medical applications, including ophthalmology, there is a need for reliable models for early prediction of NP toxicity in the eye and retina. Metal NPs, such as gold and silver, gain much of attention in the ophthalmology community due to their potential to cross the barriers of the eye. Here, NP uptake and signs of toxicity were investigated after exposure to 20 and 80 nm Ag- and AuNPs, using an in vitro tissue culture model of the mouse retina. The model offers long-term preservation of retinal cell types, numbers and morphology and is a controlled system for delivery of NPs, using serum-free defined culture medium. AgNO3-treatment was used as control for toxicity caused by silver ions. These end-points were studied; gross morphological organization, glial activity, microglial activity, level of apoptosis and oxidative stress, which are all well described as signs of insult to neural tissue. TEM analysis demonstrated cellular- and nuclear uptake of all NP types in all neuronal layers of the retina. Htx-eosin staining showed morphological disruption of the normal complex layered retinal structure, vacuole formation and pyknotic cells after exposure to all Ag- and AuNPs. Significantly higher numbers of apoptotic cells as well as an increased number of oxidative stressed cells demonstrated NP-related neuronal toxicity. NPs also caused increased glial staining and microglial cell activation, typical hallmarks of neural tissue insult. This study demonstrates that low concentrations of 20 and 80 nm sized Ag- and AuNPs have adverse effects on the retina, using an organotypic retina culture model. Our results motivate careful assessment of candidate NP, metallic or-non-metallic, to be used in neural systems for therapeutic approaches.
During human pregnancy, a subset of placental cytotrophoblasts (CTBs) differentiates into cells that aggressively invade the uterus and its vasculature, anchoring the progeny and rerouting maternal blood to the placenta. In preeclampsia (PE), CTB invasion is limited, reducing placental perfusion and/or creating intermittent flow. This syndrome, affecting 4%-8% of pregnancies, entails maternal vascular alterations (e.g., high blood pressure, proteinuria, and edema) and, in some patients, fetal growth restriction. The only cure is removal of the faulty placenta, i.e., delivery. Previously, we showed that defective CTB differentiation contributes to the placental component of PE, but the causes were unknown. Here, we cultured CTBs isolated from PE and control placentas for 48 hours, enabling differentiation and invasion. In various severe forms of PE, transcriptomics revealed common aberrations in CTB gene expression immediately after isolation, including upregulation of SEMA3B, which resolved in culture. The addition of SEMA3B to normal CTBs inhibited invasion and recreated aspects of the PE phenotype. Additionally, SEMA3B downregulated VEGF signaling through the PI3K/AKT and GSK3 pathways, effects that were observed in PE CTBs. We propose that, in severe PE, the in vivo environment dysregulates CTB gene expression; the autocrine actions of the upregulated molecules (including SEMA3B) impair CTB differentiation, invasion and signaling; and patient-specific factors determine the signs.
Acetaminophen overdose causes massive hepatic failure via mechanisms involving glutathione depletion, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction. The ultimate target of acetaminophen causing cell death remains uncertain, and the role of apoptosis in acetaminophen‐induced cell killing is still controversial. Our aim was to evaluate the mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) as a key factor in acetaminophen‐induced necrotic and apoptotic killing of primary cultured mouse hepatocytes. After administration of 10 mmol/L acetaminophen, necrotic killing increased to more than 49% and 74%, respectively, after 6 and 16 hours. MPT inhibitors, cyclosporin A (CsA), and NIM811 temporarily decreased necrotic killing after 6 hours to 26%, but cytoprotection was lost after 16 hours. Confocal microscopy revealed mitochondrial depolarization and inner membrane permeabilization approximately 4.5 hours after acetaminophen administration. CsA delayed these changes, indicative of the MPT, to approximately 11 hours after acetaminophen administration. Apoptosis indicated by nuclear changes, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase‐mediated dUTP nick end labeling, and caspase‐3 activation also increased after acetaminophen administration. Fructose (20 mmol/L, an adenosine triphosphate–generating glycolytic substrate) plus glycine (5 mmol/L, a membrane stabilizing amino acid) prevented nearly all necrotic cell killing but paradoxically increased apoptosis from 37% to 59% after 16 hours. In the presence of fructose plus glycine, CsA decreased apoptosis and delayed but did not prevent the MPT. In conclusion , after acetaminophen a CsA‐sensitive MPT occurred after 3 to 6 hours followed by a CsA‐insensitive MPT 9 to 16 hours after acetaminophen. The MPT then induces ATP depletion–dependent necrosis or caspase‐dependent apoptosis as determined, in part, by ATP availability from glycolysis. (H EPATOLOGY 2004;40:1170–1179.)