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Immunopharmacology. 1995 Nov;31(1):43-57.

Different pathways of in vitro ethanol-induced apoptosis in thymocytes and splenic T and B lymphocytes.

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Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Louisiana State University Medical Center, Shreveport 71130, USA.


To investigate the intracellular pathways leading to ETOH-induced apoptosis, thymocytes and splenic T and B cells were cultured 16 h with or without ETOH and different stimuli, and apoptotic cell death was determined. At concentrations of 0.4%-2% in culture, ETOH induced apoptosis in all three types of cells, but it had a more profound effect on thymocytes and B cells as compared with its effect on T cells. In thymocytes, ETOH-induced apoptosis was abrogated by chelation of extracellular calcium with EGTA, and inhibition of protein synthesis with CHX, or of PKC with H7 but not of PKA with HA 1004. ETOH potentiated the apoptosis of thymocytes induced with the calcium ionophore A23187 and suboptimal doses of PMA, but it had negligible effect on dAMP- and PGE2-induced apoptosis of thymocytes. In contrast to findings in thymocytes, the ETOH-induced apoptosis of T and B cells was almost completely abrogated by PMA, but not by H7 or CHX. In spleen cells, calcium chelation with EGTA triggered apoptosis. ETOH significantly inhibited EGTA-induced apoptosis of B cells but had little effect on EGTA-induced apoptosis of T cells. IL-4 reduced the ETOH-induced apoptosis of B and T cells, but it was not effective in the prevention of apoptosis of thymocytes. Inhibition of the calcium-dependent neutral protease calpain I did not rescue cells from apoptosis. Moreover, treatment with CI-I potentiated ETOH-induced apoptosis in T cells. These results suggest that both thymocytes and splenic T and B cells have relevant apoptotic pathways that can be induced by ETOH, but the mechanisms of ETOH-induced apoptosis differ in these cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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