Trichloroethylene metabolite S-(1,2-dichlorovinyl)-l-cysteine induces lipid peroxidation-associated apoptosis via the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis pathways in a first-trimester placental cell line

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Trichloroethylene (TCE), a prevalent environmental contaminant, is a potent renal and hepatic toxicant through metabolites such as S-(1, 2-dichlorovinyl)-l-cysteine (DCVC). However, effects of TCE on other target organs such as the placenta have been minimally explored. Because elevated apoptosis and lipid peroxidation in placenta have been observed in pregnancy morbidities involving poor placentation, we evaluated the effects of DCVC exposure on apoptosis and lipid peroxidation in a human extravillous trophoblast cell line, HTR-8/SVneo. We exposed the cells in vitro to 10–100 μM DCVC for various time points up to 24 h. Following exposure, we measured apoptosis using flow cytometry, caspase activity using luminescence assays, gene expression using qRT-PCR, and lipid peroxidation using a malondialdehyde quantification assay. DCVC significantly increased apoptosis in time- and concentration-dependent manners (p < 0.05). DCVC also significantly stimulated caspase 3, 7, 8 and 9 activities after 12 h (p < 0.05), suggesting that DCVC stimulates the activation of both the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic signaling pathways simultaneously. Pre-treatment with the tBID inhibitor Bl-6C9 partially reduced DCVC-stimulated caspase 3 and 7 activity, signifying crosstalk between the two pathways. Additionally, DCVC treatment increased lipid peroxidation in a concentration-dependent manner. Co-treatment with the antioxidant peroxyl radical scavenger (±)-α-tocopherol attenuated caspase 3 and 7 activity, suggesting that lipid peroxidation mediates DCVC-induced apoptosis in extravillous trophoblasts. Our findings suggest that DCVC-induced apoptosis and lipid peroxidation in extravillous trophoblasts could contribute to poor placentation if similar effects occur in vivo in response to TCE exposure, indicating that further studies into this mechanism are warranted.Graphical abstractHighlightsDCVC induced apoptosis in a placental cell line in a concentration-dependent manner.DCVC activated both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways via tBID cross talk.DCVC stimulated differential intrinsic and extrinsic pathway gene expression.Cellular lipid peroxidation byproduct malondyaldehyde levels were increased by DCVC.Antioxidant (±)-α-tocopherol attenuated DCVC-induced caspase activity.

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