Synergistic protection of a general caspase inhibitor and MK-801 in bilirubin-induced cell death in human NT2-N neurons.
ABSTRACT Unconjugated bilirubin (UCB) induces both apoptosis and necrosis in neurons. To investigate the role of caspases and excitotoxicity in UCB-induced cell death, we exposed NT2-N neurons to 5 microM UCB (a concentration known to induce apoptosis) or 2 microM staurosporine (positive apoptosis control) and investigated the effects of treatments with the specific caspase-3 inhibitor, zDEVD.FMK (20 and 100 microM), or the general caspase inhibitor, zVAD.FMK (20 and 100 microM), and/or the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist MK-801 (10 microM) during a 24- or 48-h exposure. UCB increased caspase-3 activity 2.3-fold after 6 h. Despite this, treatment with zDEVD.FMK did not prevent cell death. zVAD.FMK enhanced neuronal survival by reducing apoptotic nuclear fragmentation, while MK-801 enhanced survival by reducing apoptotic nuclear condensation; both without affecting the MTT assays. Combined treatment reduced both apoptotic morphologies (without affecting necrosis), and this effect was also reflected in the MTT assays [corrected] We conclude that NMDA receptor-mediated pathways and caspase-mediated pathways are involved in UCB-induced cell death in human NT2-N neurons. Concomitant inhibition of both pathways results in synergistic protection.
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ABSTRACT: Jaundice is one of the most common problems encountered in newborn infants, due to immaturity of hepatic conjugation and transport processes for bilirubin. Although the majority of neonatal jaundice is benign, some neonates with severe hyperbilirubinemia develop bilirubin encephalopathy or kernicterus. Accumulation of unconjugated bilirubin (UCB) in selected brain regions may result in temporary or permanent impairments of auditory, motor, or cognitive function; however, the molecular mechanisms by which UCB elicits such neurotoxicity are still poorly understood. The present study is undertaken to investigate whether prolonged exposure of rat organotypic hippocampal slice cultures to UCB alters the induction of long-term synaptic plasticity. Using electrophysiological recording techniques, we find that exposure of hippocampal slice cultures to clinically relevant concentrations of UCB for 24 or 48 h results in an impairment of CA1 long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) induction in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Hippocampal slice cultures stimulated with UCB show no changes in the secretion profiles of the pro-inflammatory cytokines, interleukin-1beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, or the propidium ioide uptake. UCB treatment produced a significant decrease in the levels of NR1, NR2A and NR2B subunits of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors through a calpain-mediated proteolytic cleavage mechanism. Pretreatment of the hippocampal slice cultures with NMDA receptor antagonist or calpain inhibitors effectively prevented the UCB-induced impairment of LTP and LTD. Our results indicate that the proteolytic cleavage of NMDA receptor subunits by calpain may play a critical role in mediating the UCB-induced impairment of long-term synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. These observations provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying UCB-induced impairment of hippocampal synaptic plasticity which, in turn, might provide opportunities for the development of novel therapeutic strategies that targets these pathways for treatment.PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(6):e5876. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Functional induction of the cystine-glutamate exchanger system Xc(-) activity in SH-SY5Y cells by unconjugated bilirubin.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We have previously reported that exposure of SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells to unconjugated bilirubin (UCB) resulted in a marked up-regulation of the mRNA encoding for the Na(+)-independent cystine∶glutamate exchanger System X(c)(-) (SLC7A11 and SLC3A2 genes). In this study we demonstrate that SH-SY5Y cells treated with UCB showed a higher cystine uptake due to a significant and specific increase in the activity of System X(c)(-), without the contribution of the others two cystine transporters (X(AG)(-) and GGT) reported in neurons. The total intracellular glutathione content was 2 folds higher in the cells exposed to bilirubin as compared to controls, suggesting that the internalized cystine is used for gluthathione synthesis. Interestingly, these cells were significantly less sensitive to an oxidative insult induced by hydrogen peroxide. If System X(c)(-) is silenced the protection is lost. In conclusion, these results suggest that bilirubin can modulate the gluthathione levels in neuroblastoma cells through the induction of the System X(c)(-), and this renders the cell less prone to oxidative damage.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(12):e29078. · 4.09 Impact Factor