Author(s): Vaya J, Song W, Khatib S, Geng G, Schipper HM
Abstract Up-regulation of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and altered cholesterol metabolism are characteristic of Alzheimer-diseased (AD) neural tissues. Central oxidation of cholesterol to oxysterols has been implicated in neuroembryogenesis, synaptic plasticity, and membrane repair. In the current study, we demonstrated that transient transfection of rat astroglia with human (h)ho-1 cDNA for 3 days significantly decreased intracellular cholesterol concentrations and increased levels of four oxysterol species (measured by GC/MS) compared to untreated control cultures and HO-1-transfected cells exposed to the HO inhibitor, tin mesoporphyrin (SnMP). Relative to control preparations, oxidative stress was augmented in mitochondria (isolated by subcellular fractionation) and culture media derived from HO-1-transfected astrocytes, as evidenced by enhanced oxidation of the synthetic reporter molecules, linoleoyl tyrosine (LT), linoleoyl tyrosine cholesterol ester (LTC), or linoleoyl tyrosine deoxyguanosyl ester (LTG; measured by GC/MS and LC/MS/MS). We also observed enhanced oxidation of exogenous LTC in human neuroblastoma (M17) cells exposed for 18 h to conditioned media collected from HO-1-transfected astrocytes relative to control media. In AD and other pathological states, glial HO-1 induction may transduce ambient noxious stimuli (e.g., beta-amyloid) into altered patterns of glial sterol metabolism which, in turn, may affect neuronal membrane turnover, survival, and adaptability.