Oxidative stress-driven mechanisms of nordihydroguaiaretic acid-induced apoptosis in FL5.12 cells

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Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), a general lipoxygenase (LOX) enzyme inhibitor, induces apoptosis independently of its activity as a LOX inhibitor in murine pro-B lymphocytes (FL.12 cells) by a mechanism that is still not fully understood. Glutathione depletion, oxidative processes and mitochondrial depolarization appear to contribute to the apoptosis induced by NDGA. The current data demonstrate that NDGA (20 μM)-induced apoptosis in FL5.12 cells is partially protected by N-acetylcysteine (NAC) (10 mM) and dithiothreitol (DTT) (500 μM) pretreatment, confirming a role for oxidative processes. In addition, the treatment of FL5.12 cells with NDGA led to an increase in phosphorylation and activation of the MAP kinases ERK, JNK and p38. Although pretreatment with ERK inhibitors (PD98059 or U0126) abolished ERK phosphorylation in response to NDGA, neither inhibitor had any effect on NDGA-induced apoptosis. SP600125, a JNK inhibitor, did not have any effect on NDGA-induced phosphorylation of JNK nor apoptosis. Pretreatment with the p38 inhibitor SB202190 attenuated NDGA-induced apoptosis by 30% and also abolished p38 phosphorylation, compared to NDGA treatment alone. NAC, but not DTT, also decreased the phosphorylation of p38 and JNK supporting a role for oxidative processes in activating these kinases. Neither NAC nor DTT blocked the phosphorylation of ERK suggesting that this activation is not related to oxidative stress. The release of cytochrome c and activation of caspase-3 induced by NDGA were inhibited by NAC. SB202190 slightly attenuated caspase-3 activation and had no effect on the release of cytochrome c. These data suggest that several independent mechanisms, including oxidative reactions, activation of p38 kinase and cytochrome c release contribute to NDGA-induced apoptosis.

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