INTRODUCTION: Alveolar epithelial apoptosis has been described in the early stages of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. The production of reactive oxygen species during hyperoxia is thought to contribute to alveolar epithelial apoptosis, but the molecular mechanisms of oxidative stress–induced alveolar epithelial cell death is unclear.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to explore the role of the c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) pathway in the apoptosis of alveolar epithelial cells that is induced by oxidative stress.
METHODS: Primary cultured rat alveolar type cells were treated with 500 μM hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) at various time intervals (0, 1, 3, 6, and 9 hours), whereas some cells were pretreated with a specific JNK inhibitor (SP600125). Mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) change, cell survival, and apoptotic ratios were measured by fluorescence microscopy, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, and flow cytometry analysis, respectively. The expression of phosphorylated JNK and Bax was detected by Western blot.
RESULTS: H2O2 treatment resulted in cell apoptosis and a decrease of MMP and cell viability in a time-dependent manner. Meanwhile, the JNK was activated and peaked at 30 minutes, and the Bax expression level was increased. Pretreated SP600125 enhanced cell viability and decreased apoptotic ratios after H2O2 treatment. The expression of Bax declined after using SP600125 compared with cells that were treated with H2O2 only.
CONCLUSIONS: High levels of oxidative stress induced cell apoptosis in a time-dependent manner. The mechanisms of oxidative stress–induced cell apoptosis involves JNK activation, Bax upregulation, and MMP decrease. JNK activation could improve the expression of Bax and play a proapoptotic role in the regulation of apoptosis that is induced by oxidative stress.
Submitted by Lu Zhongyi
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics