Essential role of p38 MAPK in caspase-independent, iPLA2-dependent cell death under hypoxia/low glucose conditions

Department of Physiology, Graduate School of Medicine, Ehime University, Shitsukawa, Toon, Ehime, Japan.
FEBS letters (Impact Factor: 3.34). 05/2009; 583(10):1611-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.04.028
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The mechanisms of cell death induced by hypoxia or ischemia are not yet fully understood. We have previously demonstrated that cell death induced by hypoxia occurs independently of caspases, and is mediated by phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)). Here, we show that p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase is activated under hypoxia. A selective inhibitor of p38 or decrease in the p38alpha protein level prevents hypoxia-induced cell death. The p38 inhibitor abolishes PLA(2) activation by hypoxia, indicating that p38 acts upstream of PLA(2). The antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine inhibits activation of p38 and cell death induced by hypoxia, indicating that reactive oxygen species (ROS) are responsible for p38 activation. These results demonstrate that the ROS/p38/PLA(2) signaling axis has a crucial role in caspase-independent cell death induced by hypoxia.

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