Indexed on: 15 May '12Published on: 15 May '12Published in: Biochemical Pharmacology
Oxidative stress is the main etiological factor behind the pathogenesis of various diseases including inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. Due to the spin trapping abilities and various pharmacological properties of nitrones, their application as therapeutic agent has been gaining attention. Though the antioxidant properties of the nitrones are well known, the mechanism by which they modulate the cellular defense machinery against oxidative stress is not well investigated and requires further elucidation. Here, we have investigated the mechanisms of cytoprotection of the nitrone spin traps against oxidative stress in bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC). Cytoprotective properties of both the cyclic nitrone 5,5-dimethyl-pyrroline N-oxide (DMPO) and linear nitrone α-phenyl N-tert-butyl nitrone (PBN) against H₂O₂-induced cytotoxicity were investigated. Preincubation of BAEC with PBN or DMPO resulted in the inhibition of H₂O₂-mediated cytotoxicity and apoptosis. Nitrone-treatment resulted in the induction and restoration of phase II antioxidant enzymes via nuclear translocation of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf-2) in oxidatively-challenged cells. Furthermore, the nitrones were found to inhibit the mitochondrial depolarization and subsequent activation of caspase-3 induced by H₂O₂. Significant down-regulation of the pro-apoptotic proteins p53 and Bax, and up-regulation of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and p-Bad were observed when the cells were preincubated with the nitrones prior to H₂O₂-treatment. It was also observed that Nrf-2 silencing completely abolished the protective effects of nitrones. Hence, these findings suggest that nitrones confer protection to the endothelial cells against oxidative stress by modulating phase II antioxidant enzymes and subsequently inhibiting mitochondria-dependent apoptotic cascade.