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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2011 Oct 1;256(1):44-51. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2011.07.007. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

Arsenic-induced alteration in intracellular calcium homeostasis induces head kidney macrophage apoptosis involving the activation of calpain-2 and ERK in Clarias batrachus.

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  • 1Immunobiology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Delhi, Delhi 110 007, India.


We had earlier shown that exposure to arsenic (0.50 μM) caused caspase-3 mediated head kidney macrophage (HKM) apoptosis involving the p38-JNK pathway in Clarias batrachus. Here we examined the roles of calcium (Ca(2+)) and extra-cellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK), the other member of MAPK-pathway on arsenic-induced HKM apoptosis. Arsenic-induced HKM apoptosis involved increased expression of ERK and calpain-2. Nifedipine, verapamil and EGTA pre-treatment inhibited the activation of calpain-2, ERK and reduced arsenic-induced HKM apoptosis as evidenced from reduced caspase-3 activity, Annexin V-FITC-propidium iodide and Hoechst 33342 staining. Pre-incubation with ERK inhibitor U 0126 inhibited the activation of calpain-2 and interfered with arsenic-induced HKM apoptosis. Additionally, pre-incubation with calpain-2 inhibitor also interfered with the activation of ERK and inhibited arsenic-induced HKM apoptosis. The NADPH oxidase inhibitor apocynin and diphenyleneiodonium chloride also inhibited ERK activation indicating activation of ERK in arsenic-exposed HKM also depends on signals from NADPH oxidase pathway. Our study demonstrates the critical role of Ca(2+) homeostasis on arsenic-induced HKM apoptosis. We suggest that arsenic-induced alteration in intracellular Ca(2+) levels initiates pro-apoptotic ERK and calpain-2; the two pathways influence each other positively and induce caspase-3 mediated HKM apoptosis. Besides, our study also indicates the role of ROS in the activation of ERK pathway in arsenic-induced HKM apoptosis in C. batrachus.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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