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Toxicology. 2007 Nov 30;241(3):146-56. Epub 2007 Sep 5.

Interaction between caspase-8 activation and endoplasmic reticulum stress in glycochenodeoxycholic acid-induced apoptotic HepG2 cells.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Showa University, Hatanodai 1-5-8, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8555, Japan.


The accumulation of hydrophobic bile acid, such as glycochenodeoxycholic acid (GCDCA), in the liver has been thought to induce hepatocellular damage in human chronic cholestatic liver diseases. We previously reported that GCDCA-induced apoptosis was promoted by both mitochondria-mediated and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-associated pathways in rat hepatocytes. In this study, we elucidated the relationship between these pathways in GCDCA-induced apoptotic HepG2 cells. HepG2 cells were treated with GCDCA (100-500microM) with or without a caspase-8 inhibitor, Z-IETD-fluoromethyl ketone (Z-IETD-FMK) (30microM) for 3-24h. We demonstrated the presence of both apoptotic pathways in these cells; that is, we showed increases in cleaved caspase-3 proteins, the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, and the expression of ER resident molecular chaperone Bip mRNA and ER stress response-associated transcription factor Chop mRNA. On the other hand, pretreatment with Z-IETD-FMK significantly reduced the increases, compared with treatment with GCDCA alone. Immunofluorescence microscopic analysis showed that treatment with GCDCA increased the cleavage of BAP31, an integral membrane protein of ER, and pretreatment with Z-IETD-FMK suppressed the increase of caspase-8 and BAP31 cleavage. In conclusion, these results suggest that intact activated caspase-8 may promote and amplify the ER stress response by cleaving BAP31 in GCDCA-induced apoptotic cells.

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