Author(s): Salas VM, Burchiel SW
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Abstract Numerous studies have demonstrated an association between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and lymphocyte toxicity. The present study shows that, consistent with its effects on Ca2+ homeostasis, benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) induces apoptosis in Daudi cells. Terminal deoxynucleotidal transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) analysis at 18 h revealed a significant increase in the number of cells undergoing apoptosis in response to BaP (75\%), BaP-7, 8-dihydrodiol (110\%), and BaP-7,8-9,10-diol epoxide (BPDE) (215\%) over DMSO vehicle control cultures. By 36 h, the trend toward increasing numbers of apoptotic cells continued with the parent compound producing a 125\% increase over control values and the 7, 8-dihydrodiol and BPDE metabolites producing 195\% and 370\% increases over controls, respectively. DNA fragmentation assays demonstrated the presence of internucleosomal cleavage products consistent with the increasing numbers of TUNEL-positive cells responding to PAHs at 18 and 36 h. Analysis of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) protein in BaP- and BaP-7,8-dihydrodiol-treated cells strongly suggested the involvement of cysteine proteases by the appearance of an 85-kD fragment derived from hydrolytic cleavage of PARP, a phenomenon that has been associated with apoptosis in many systems. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that both BaP and its 7,8-dihydrodiol metabolite affected a pathway involving Bcl-2 and Bax cytosolic proteins. Daudi cells undergoing apoptosis at 36 h in response to 10 microM BaP, the parent compound, expressed moderately reduced amounts of Bcl-2 (78\% of vehicle controls). At the same time point, the 7,8-dihydrodiol and BDPE metabolites at 3 microM resulted in Bcl-2 protein expression that was 52\% of that seen in vehicle controls. Parallel samples analyzed for expression of Bax protein displayed a 130\% increase over vehicle control in Bax expression in response to the parent compound, while the 7,8-dihydrodiol metabolite produced a 257\% increase in Bax. Furthermore, the effects on increased Bax expression were observed as early as 3 h after PAH exposure. The apoptotic response to PAHs in Daudi cells was sensitive to 4-h pretreatment with 0.3 microM alpha-naphthoflavone (ANF), a known inhibitor of cytochrome P450. In TUNEL assays of cells exposed to PAHs following pretreatment with ANF, at 18 h there was a significant reduction in the number of cells undergoing apoptosis in response to ANF compared to cells that were not pretreated with the compound. The effect of the parent compound at 18 h was completely blocked with ANF pretreatment, while ANF exerted a relatively weaker, but significant, effect on BaP-7, 8-dihydrodiol-induced apoptosis. With regard to modulation of expression of apoptosis-related proteins, Bax expression was restored to that observed in vehicle-control cultures at all time points tested (3, 18, and 36 h). Bcl-2 expression was most responsive to ANF at later time points following PAH exposure (18 and 36 h); however, Bcl-2 appeared to be more sensitive to the effects of ANF alone. Taken together, these data suggest that modulation of Bcl-2 family proteins, perhaps secondary to altered Ca2+ homeostasis, plays an important role in human B cell apoptosis induced by BaP. Copyright 1998 Academic Press.
This article was published in Toxicol Appl Pharmacol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology