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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2009 Oct 1;240(1):73-87. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2009.07.008. Epub 2009 Jul 17.

Taurine prevents arsenic-induced cardiac oxidative stress and apoptotic damage: role of NF-kappa B, p38 and JNK MAPK pathway.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Medicine, Bose Institute, P-1/12, CIT Scheme VII M, Kolkata-700054, West Bengal, India.


Cardiac dysfunction is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide due to its complex pathogenesis. However, little is known about the mechanism of arsenic-induced cardiac abnormalities and the use of antioxidants as the possible protective agents in this pathophysiology. Conditionally essential amino acid, taurine, accounts for 25% to 50% of the amino acid pool in myocardium and possesses antioxidant properties. The present study has, therefore, been carried out to investigate the underlying mechanism of the beneficial role of taurine in arsenic-induced cardiac oxidative damage and cell death. Arsenic reduced cardiomyocyte viability, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and intracellular calcium overload, and induced apoptotic cell death by mitochondrial dependent caspase-3 activation and poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) cleavage. These changes due to arsenic exposure were found to be associated with increased IKK and NF-kappaB (p65) phosphorylation. Pre-exposure of myocytes to an IKK inhibitor (PS-1145) prevented As-induced caspase-3 and PARP cleavage. Arsenic also markedly increased the activity of p38 and JNK MAPKs, but not ERK to that extent. Pre-treatment with SP600125 (JNK inhibitor) and SB203580 (p38 MAPK inhibitor) attenuated NF-kappaB and IKK phosphorylation indicating that p38 and JNK MAPKs are mainly involved in arsenic-induced NF-kappaB activation. Taurine treatment suppressed these apoptotic actions, suggesting that its protective role in arsenic-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis is mediated by attenuation of p38 and JNK MAPK signaling pathways. Similarly, arsenic intoxication altered a number of biomarkers related to cardiac oxidative stress and other apoptotic indices in vivo and taurine supplementation could reduce it. Results suggest that taurine prevented arsenic-induced myocardial pathophysiology, attenuated NF-kappaB activation via IKK, p38 and JNK MAPK signaling pathways and could possibly provide a protection against As-induced cardiovascular burden.

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