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Am J Physiol. 1999 Mar;276(3):C717-24. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.1999.276.3.C717.

Monocytic cell necrosis is mediated by potassium depletion and caspase-like proteases.

Author information

1
Gastroenterology Division, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA. mwarny@caregroup.harvard.edu

Abstract

Apoptosis is a physiological cell death that culminates in mitochondrial permeability transition and the activation of caspases, a family of cysteine proteases. Necrosis, in contrast, is a pathological cell death characterized by swelling of the cytoplasm and mitochondria and rapid plasma membrane disruption. Necrotic cell death has long been opposed to apoptosis, but it now appears that both pathways involve mitochondrial permeability transition, raising the question of what mediates necrotic cell death. In this study, we investigated mechanisms that promote necrosis induced by various stimuli (Clostridium difficile toxins, Staphylococcus aureus alpha toxin, ouabain, nigericin) in THP-1 cells, a human monocytic cell line, and in monocytes. All stimuli induced typical features of necrosis and triggered protease-mediated release of interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and CD14 in both cell types. K+ depletion was actively implicated in necrosis because substituting K+ for Na+ in the extracellular medium prevented morphological features of necrosis and IL-1beta release. N-benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethyl ketone, a broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor, prevented morphological features of necrosis, plasma membrane destruction, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, IL-1beta release, and CD14 shedding induced by all stimuli. Thus, in monocytic cells, necrosis is a cell death pathway mediated by passive K+ efflux and activation of caspase-like proteases.

PMID:
10070000
DOI:
10.1152/ajpcell.1999.276.3.C717
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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