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Microcystin-LR Induces Apoptosis via NF-κB /iNOS Pathway in INS-1 Cells

Author(s): Yong Ji | Gao Lu | Guoqiang Chen | Bin Huang | Xian Zhang | Kai Shen | Song Wu

Journal: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
ISSN 1422-0067

Volume: 12;
Issue: 7;
Start page: 4722;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: INS-1 | NF-κB | iNOS | Microcystin-LR | apoptosis

Cyanobacterial toxins, especially the microcystins, are found in eutrophied waters throughout the world, and their potential to impact on human and animal health is a cause for concern. Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is one of the common toxic microcystin congeners and occurs frequently in diverse water systems. Recent work suggested that apoptosis plays a major role in the toxic effects induced by MC-LR in hepatocytes. However, the roles of MC-LR in pancreatic beta cells have not been fully established. The aim of the present study was to assess possible in vitro effects of MC-LR on cell apoptosis in the rat insulinoma cell line, INS-1. Our results demonstrated that MC-LR promoted selectively activation of NF-κB (increasing nuclear p50/p65 translocation) and increased the mRNA and protein levels of induced nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). The chronic treatment with MC-LR stimulated nitric oxide (NO) production derived from iNOS and induced apoptosis in a dose dependent manner in INS-1 cells. Meanwhile, this effect was inhibited by the NF-κB inhibitor PDTC, which reversed the apoptosis induced by MC-LR. Our observations indicate that MC-LR induced cell apoptosis via an iNOS-dependent pathway. A well-known nuclear transcription factor, NF-κB, is activated and mediates intracellular nitric oxide synthesis. We suggest that the apoptosis induced by chronic MC-LR in vivo presents a possible cause of β-cell dysfunction, as a key environmental factor in the development of diabetes mellitus.
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