Deficiency of ALADIN Impairs Redox Homeostasis in Human Adrenal Cells and Inhibits Steroidogenesis

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Triple A syndrome is a rare, autosomal recessive cause of adrenal failure. Additional features include alacrima, achalasia of the esophageal cardia, and progressive neurodegenerative disease. The AAAS gene product is the nuclear pore complex protein alacrima-achalasia-adrenal insufficiency neurological disorder (ALADIN), of unknown function. Triple A syndrome patient dermal fibroblasts appear to be more sensitive to oxidative stress than wild-type fibroblasts. To provide an adrenal and neuronal-specific disease model, we established AAAS-gene knockdown in H295R human adrenocortical tumor cells and SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells by lentiviral short hairpin RNA transduction. AAAS-knockdown significantly reduced cell viability in H295R cells. This effect was exacerbated by hydrogen peroxide treatment and improved by application of the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine. An imbalance in redox homeostasis after AAAS knockdown was further suggested in the H295R cells by a decrease in the ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione. AAAS-knockdown SH-SY5Y cells were also hypersensitive to oxidative stress and responded to antioxidant treatment. A further impact on function was observed in the AAAS-knockdown H295R cells with reduced expression of key components of the steroidogenic pathway, including steroidogenic acute regulatory and P450c11β protein expression. Importantly a significant reduction in cortisol production was demonstrated with AAAS knockdown, which was partially reversed with N-acetylcysteine treatment. Conclusion: Our in vitro data in AAAS-knockdown adrenal and neuronal cells not only corroborates previous studies implicating oxidative stress in this disorder but also provides further insights into the pathogenic mechanisms in triple A syndrome.

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