Indexed on: 19 Oct '19Published on: 18 Oct '19Published in: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a common heavy metal pollutant widely used in various industrial fields. It is well known that mitochondria are the most vulnerable targets of heavy metals, but the key molecule/event that directly mediated mitochondrial dysfunction after Cr(VI) exposure is still unclear. The present study was aimed to explore whether Cr(VI) exposure could affect the mitochondrial fission/fusion process, and whether the related abnormal mitochondrial dynamics have been implicated in Cr(VI)-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. We found that the mitochondrial dysfunction caused by Cr(VI) exposure was characterized by decreased mitochondrial respiratory chain complex (MRCC) I/II activities and levels, collapsed mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), depleted ATP, and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) level. Cr(VI) induced abnormal mitochondrial fission/fusion events, the antioxidant Nacetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) restored the abnormal mitochondrial function as well as the fission/fusion dynamics. ROS was the up-stream regulator of extracellular regulated protein kinases (ERK) signaling, and the application of a specific ERK1/2 inhibitor PD98059 confirmed that activation of ERK1/2 signaling was associated with the abnormal mitochondrial fission/fusion and mitochondrial dysfunction. We also demonstrated that treatment with dynamic-like protein 1 (DLP1)-siRNA rescued mitochondrial dysfunction in Cr(VI)-exposed L02 hepatocytes. We reached the conclusion that blockage of ROS-ERK-DLP1 signaling and mitochondrial fission alleviates Cr(VI)-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in L02 hepatocytes, which may provide the new avenue for developing effective strategies to protect against Cr(VI)-induced hepatotoxicity. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.