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Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2002 Jul-Dec;102-103(1-6):239-50.

Regulation of apoptosis through arachidonate cascade in mammalian cells.

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  • 1Department of Life Science and Biotechnology, Shimane University, Matsue, Japan.


The arachidonate cascade includes the cyclooxygenase (COX) pathway to form prostanoids and the lipoxygenase (LOX) pathway to generate several oxygenated fatty acids, collectively called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are suggested to play a dual role in regulating cell survival and apoptosis in various types of cells through an unknown mechanism. We found apoptosis in cultured Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells treated with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol beta-acetate (TPA), a potent tumor promoter, and nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), a LOX inhibitor. The effect of TPA was synergistically stimulated along with NDGA. Aspirin, a COX inhibitor, was not effective. The target of NDGA might be different from the mechanism involving a LOX activity in some kinds of carcinoma cells because the increased expression of 12-LOX was not detected in MDCK cells treated with TPA. Caspase and poly(ADP-ribose) metabolites were found to be involved in the signal transduction pathway of the TPA- and NDGA-induced apoptosis in MDCK cells. Alternatively, hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis was not affected by NDGA. Thus, the TPA-induced response involved the mechanism independent of the oxidative stress. Obesity is a risk factor for severe diseases including noninsulin-dependent diabetes and atherosclerosis characterized by the changes of cell properties of adipocytes. We found that conjugated linolenic acid from bitter gourd was able to induce apoptosis in mouse preadipogenic 3T3-L1 cells. The findings provide the potential use of conjugated fatty acids to regulate obesity.

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