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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1992 Jan;112(1):32-40.

Acetaminophen-induced cytotoxicity in cultured mouse hepatocytes: effects of Ca(2+)-endonuclease, DNA repair, and glutathione depletion inhibitors on DNA fragmentation and cell death.

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Toxicology Program, College of Pharmacy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131-1066.


Hepatotoxic alkylation of mouse liver cells by acetaminophen is characterized by an early loss of ion regulation, accumulation of Ca2+ in the nucleus, and fragmentation of DNA in vitro and in vivo. Acetaminophen-induced DNA cleavage is accompanied by the formation of a "ladder" of DNA fragments characteristic of Ca(2+)-mediated endonuclease activation. These events unfold well in advance of cytotoxicity and the development of necrosis. The present study utilized cultured mouse hepatocytes and mechanistic probes to test whether DNA fragmentation and cell death might be related in a "cause-and-effect" manner. Cells were isolated by collagenase perfusion, cultured in Williams' E medium for 22-26 hr, and exposed to acetaminophen. Aurintricarboxylic acid, a general Ca(2+)-endonuclease inhibitor, and EGTA, a chelator of Ca2+ required for endonuclease activation, significantly decreased DNA fragmentation at 6 and 12 hr and virtually abolished cytotoxicity. N-Acetylcysteine also eliminated DNA fragmentation and cytotoxicity. 3-Aminobenzamide, an inhibitor of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-stimulated DNA repair, failed to alter the amount of DNA fragmentation at 6 hr but substantially increased acetaminophen cytotoxicity in hepatocytes at 12 hr. With the exception of when DNA repair was inhibited by 3-aminobenzamide, Ca2+ accumulation in the nucleus, DNA fragmentation, and hepatocyte death varied consistently and predictably with one another. Collectively, these findings suggest that unrepaired damage to DNA contributes to acetaminophen-induced cell death in vivo and may play a role in necrosis in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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