Experimental Apoptosis Provides Clues about the Role of Mitochondrial Changes in Neuronal Death
ABSTRACT A quantitative morphometric study has been carried out in human neuroblastoma SK-N-BE cells to evaluate the ultrastructural features and the metabolic efficiency of mitochondria involved in the early steps of apoptosis. In mitochondria from control and apoptotic cells cytochrome oxidase (COX) activity was estimated by preferential cytochemistry. Number of mitochondria (numeric density: Nv), volume fraction occupied by mitochondria/microm3 of cytoplasm (volume density: Vv), and average mitochondrial volume (V) were calculated for both COX-positive and -negative organelles. The ratio (R) of the cytochemical precipitate area to the overall area of each mitochondrion was evaluated on COX-positive organelles to estimate the inner mitochondrial membrane fraction actively involved in cellular respiration. Following apoptotic stimulus, the whole mitochondrial population showed a significant increase of Nv and Vv, while V was significantly decreased. In COX-positive organelles higher values of Nv were found, V appeared significantly reduced, and Vv was unchanged. R was increased at a nonsignificant extent in apoptotic cells. COX-positive mitochondria accounted for 21% and 35% of the whole population in control and in apoptotic cells, respectively. These findings document that in the early stages of apoptosis the increased fraction of small mitochondria provides an adequate amount of ATP for progression of the programmed cell death and these more efficient organelles appear to represent a reactive response to the loss of metabolically impaired mitochondria. A better understanding of the mitochondrial role in neuronal apoptosis may suggest potential interventions to prevent the extensive nerve cell death typical of neurodegenerative diseases.
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ABSTRACT: Apoptosis and necrosis are considered conceptually and morphologically distinct forms of cell death. Here, we report that demise of human T cells caused by two classic apoptotic triggers (staurosporin and CD95 stimulation) changed from apoptosis to necrosis, when cells were preemptied of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Nuclear condensation and DNA fragmentation did not occur in cells predepleted of ATP and treated with either of the two inducers, although the kinetics of cell death were unchanged. Selective and graded repletion of the extramitochondrial ATP/pool with glucose prevented necrosis and restored the ability of the cells to undergo apoptosis. Pulsed ATP/depletion/repletion experiments also showed that ATP generation either by glycolysis or by mitochondria was required for the active execution of the final phase of apoptosis, which involves nuclear condensation and DNA degradation.Journal of Experimental Medicine 05/1997; 185(8):1481-6. · 13.91 Impact Factor
Article: [Apoptosis in the nervous system].[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Apoptosis (programmed cell death) is a distinct form of controlled cell degeneration, different from necrosis. It serves multiple physiological functions, such as the control of cell numbers during development, the maintenance of tissue homeostasis and the deletion of abnormal cells. Apoptosis has unique morphological and biochemical features, especially at the nuclear level, in keeping with the idea of the active participation of the cell in its own demise. Gene regulation of apoptosis shows variability among different tissues, particularly regarding the signals that trigger cell death, but shares an effector phase highly conserved accross species. In the nervous system, genes have been identified which either i) promote apoptosis: Bax, Bcl-xS, c-fos, c-jun, p75NGFR and ICE-like proteases, or ii) block apoptosis: Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. In addition, availability of trophic factors and expression of Trk membrane receptors allow for the fine adjustement of viable cells in each neuronal population. In some diseases, neuron loss takes place via apoptosis, whether exclusively or associated with necrosis, especially when cellular insults are of moderate intensity or death occurs in areas of the brain adjacent to necrotic foci. This has been shown in excitotoxicity, X-ray injury and hypoxia-ischemia. Activation of apoptosis occurs also in some neurodegenerative diseases. Infantile spinal muscular atrophy can be the first example of a pediatric hereditary disease where a deletion in the gene of a protein which inhibits neuron apoptosis has a pathogenic role. Last, some central nervous system infections produce abnormal activation of apoptosis.Revista de neurologia 12/1996; 24(135):1356-60. · 0.93 Impact Factor
Article: Mitochondria and Apoptosis.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: REVIEW A variety of key events in apoptosis focus on mitochondria, including the release of caspase activators (such as cytochrome c), changes in electron transport, loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential, altered cellular oxidation-reduction, and participation of pro- and antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins. The different signals that converge on mitochondria to trigger or inhibit these events and their downstream effects delineate several major pathways in physiological cell death.Science 09/1998; 281(5381):1309-12. DOI:10.1126/science.281.5381.1309 · 31.48 Impact Factor