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PLoS One. 2010 Sep 7;5(9):e12602. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012602.

Protective role of taurine against arsenic-induced mitochondria-dependent hepatic apoptosis via the inhibition of PKCdelta-JNK pathway.

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Division of Molecular Medicine, Bose Institute, Kolkata, India.



Oxidative stress-mediated hepatotoxic effect of arsenic (As) is mainly due to the depletion of glutathione (GSH) in liver. Taurine, on the other hand, enhances intracellular production of GSH. Little is known about the mechanism of the beneficial role of taurine in As-induced hepatic pathophysiology. Therefore, in the present study we investigated its beneficial role in As-induced hepatic cell death via mitochondria-mediated pathway.


Rats were exposed to NaAsO(2) (2 mg/kg body weight for 6 months) and the hepatic tissue was used for oxidative stress measurements. In addition, the pathophysiologic effect of NaAsO(2) (10 microM) on hepatocytes was evaluated by determining cell viability, mitochondrial membrane potential and ROS generation. As caused mitochondrial injury by increased oxidative stress and reciprocal regulation of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL/Bad, Bax, Bim in association with increased level of Apaf-1, activation of caspase 9/3, cleavage of PARP protein and ultimately led to apoptotic cell death. In addition, As markedly increased JNK and p38 phosphorylation with minimal disturbance of ERK. Pre-exposure of hepatocytes to a JNK inhibitor SP600125 prevented As-induced caspase-3 activation, ROS production and loss in cell viability. Pre-exposure of hepatocytes to a p38 inhibitor SB2035, on the other hand, had practically no effect on these events. Besides, As activated PKCdelta and pre-treatment of hepatocytes with its inhibitor, rottlerin, suppressed the activation of JNK indicating that PKCdelta is involved in As-induced JNK activation and mitochondrial dependent apoptosis. Oral administration of taurine (50 mg/kg body weight for 2 weeks) both pre and post to NaAsO(2) exposure or incubation of the hepatocytes with taurine (25 mM) were found to be effective in counteracting As-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis.


Results indicate that taurine treatment improved As-induced hepatic damages by inhibiting PKCdelta-JNK signalling pathways. Therefore taurine supplementation could provide a new approach for the reduction of hepatic complication due to arsenic poisoning.

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