Cationic liposomes induce apoptosis through p38 MAP kinase-caspase-8-Bid pathway in macrophage-like RAW264.7 cells

Sayaka Iwaoka, Tomoko Nakamura, Shuhei Takano, Seishi Tsuchiya, Yukihiko Aramaki
Journal of Leukocyte Biology 2006, 79 (1): 184-91
We have demonstrated that cationic liposomes composed of stearylamine (SA-liposomes) induce apoptosis in a variety of cells, but the mechanism responsible for the cellular death is not clear. In this paper, we investigated the signaling pathways implicated in SA-liposome-induced apoptosis in the macrophage-like cell line RAW264.7. Treatment with SA-liposomes caused the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), especially p38 and c-jun N-terminal kinase, and apoptosis was only inhibited upon the addition of a specific inhibitor for p38. N-acetylcysteine, a scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS), effectively inhibited the activation of p38 and cellular death, indicating that the activation induced by ROS is an initial step in the process of apoptosis triggered by SA-liposomes. Caspase-8 was activated by p38, and caspase-8-dependent cleavage of Bid was also observed. No down-regulation of bcl-2 expression, and no cleavage of Bax protein were observed. Taken together, our results suggest that apoptosis of RAW264.7 by SA-liposomes was mediated by the MAPK p38 and a caspase-8-dependent Bid-cleavage pathway. Moreover, we found that ROS can contribute intimately to the SA-liposome-induced cell death in RAW264.7.

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