JOURNAL ARTICLE

Arsenic trioxide induces unfolded protein response in vascular endothelial cells

Ching-Yi Weng, Shu-Yuan Chiou, Lisu Wang, Mei-Chun Kou, Ying-Jan Wang, Ming-Jiuan Wu
Archives of Toxicology 2014, 88 (2): 213-26
23892647
Chronic arsenic exposure has been linked to endothelial dysfunction and apoptosis. We investigate the involvement of unfolded protein response (UPR) signaling in the arsenic-mediated cytotoxicity of the SVEC4-10 mouse endothelial cells. The SVEC4-10 cells underwent apoptosis in response to As2O3 dose- and time-dependently, accompanied by increased accumulation of calcium, and activation of caspase-3. These phenomena were completely inhibited by α-lipoic acid (LA), which did not scavenge ROS over-production, but were only partially or not ameliorated by tiron, a potent superoxide scavenger. Moreover, arsenic activated UPR, leading to phosphorylation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 subunit α (eIF2α), induction of ATF4, and processing of ATF6. Treatment with arsenic also triggered the expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress markers, GRP78 (glucose-regulated protein), and CHOP (C/EBP homologous protein). The activation of eIF2α, ATF4 and ATF6 and expression of GRP78 and CHOP are repressed by both LA and tiron, indicating arsenic-induced UPR is mediated through ROS-dependent and ROS-independent pathways. Arsenic also induced ER stress-inducible genes, BAX, PUMA (p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis), TRB3 (tribbles-related protein 3), and SNAT2 (sodium-dependent neutral amino acid transporter 2). Consistent with intracellular calcium and cell viability data, ROS may not be important in arsenic-induced death, because tiron did not affect the expression of these pro-apoptotic genes. In addition, pretreatment with salubrinal, a selective inhibitor of eIF2α dephosphorylation, enhanced arsenic-induced GRP78 and CHOP expression and partially prevented arsenic cytotoxicity in SVEC4-10 cells. Taken together, these results suggest that arsenic-induced endothelial cytotoxicity is associated with ER stress, which is mediated by ROS-dependent and ROS-independent signaling.

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