Proinflammatory cytokines provoke oxidative damage to actin in neuronal cells mediated by Rac1 and NADPH oxidase

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The proinflammatory cytokines TNFα and Il-1β orchestrate the progression of CNS inflammation, which substantially contributes to neurodegeneration in many CNS pathologies. TNFα and Il-1β stimulate actin filament reorganization in non-neuronal cells often accompanied by the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Actin filament dynamics is vital for cellular plasticity, mitochondrial function, and gene expression despite being highly susceptible to oxidative damage. We demonstrated that, in neuronal cells, TNFα and Il-1β stimulate a transient, redox-dependent reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton into lamellipodia under the regulation of Rac1 and a neuronal NADPH oxidase as the source of ROS. The persistent presence of intracellular ROS provoked oxidative damage (carbonylation) to actin coinciding with the loss of lamellipodia and arrest of cellular plasticity. Inhibition of NADPH oxidase activity or Rac1 abolished the adverse effects of cytokines. These findings suggest that oxidative damage to the neuronal actin cytoskeleton could represent a key step in CNS neurodegeneration.

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