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Eur J Pharmacol. 1999 Nov 12;384(1):47-52.

Exposure of rat thymocytes to hydrogen peroxide increases annexin V binding to membranes: inhibitory actions of deferoxamine and quercetin.

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Laboratory of Cellular Signaling, Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokushima, Minami-Jyosanjima 1-1, Tokushima, Japan.


Effects of hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) on rat thymocytes were examined, using a flow cytometer and three fluorescent probes, annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate (annexin V-FITC) for detecting phosphatidylserine expressed on the membrane surface, ethidium bromide for estimating dead cells, and fluo-3-acetoxymethyl ester (fluo-3-AM) for monitoring changes in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)), to characterize H(2)O(2)-induced cytotoxicity. Exposure to H(2)O(2) (30 microM or more) increased the number of annexin V-positive live cells dose- and time-dependently while the number of dead cells increased at concentrations of 1 mM or more. H(2)O(2) (30 microM or more) increased [Ca(2+)](i) in a dose-dependent manner. Threshold concentration of H(2)O(2) to increase [Ca(2+)](i) was similar to that to increase annexin V binding to membranes. The H(2)O(2)-induced change in cell membranes was attenuated under Ca(2+)-free conditions. Therefore, it is likely that Ca(2+) is involved in the H(2)O(2)-induced cytotoxicity. Deferoxamine was effective to protect the cells suffering from H(2)O(2)-induced oxidative stress, suggesting a contribution of hydroxyl radicals generated by the Fenton reaction. Quercetin also exerted a potent protective action on cells suffering from H(2)O(2)-induced oxidative stress. The results indicate that the exposure of rat thymocytes to H(2)O(2) at micromolar concentrations increases annexin V binding to cell membranes in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner, suggesting the possibility that the oxidative stress caused by H(2)O(2) (and/or hydroxyl radicals) induces apoptosis via increasing [Ca(2+)](i).

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