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      Baicalin Ameliorates H 2O 2 Induced Cytotoxicity in HK-2 Cells through the Inhibition of ER Stress and the Activation of Nrf2 Signaling

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          Renal ischemia-reperfusion injury plays a key role in renal transplantation and greatly affects the outcome of allograft. Our previous study proved that Baicalin, a flavonoid glycoside isolated from Scutellaria baicalensis, protects kidney from ischemia-reperfusion injury. This study aimed to study the underlying mechanism in vitro. Human renal proximal tubular epithelial cell line HK-2 cells were stimulated by H 2O 2 with and without Baicalin pretreatment. The cell viability, apoptosis and oxidative stress level were measured. The expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress hallmarks, such as binding immunoglobulin protein (BiP) and C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), were analyzed by western blot and real-time PCR. NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) expression was also measured. In the H 2O 2 group, cell viability decreased and cell apoptosis increased. Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and Glutathione/Oxidized Glutathione (GSH/GSSG) analysis revealed increased oxidative stress. ER stress and Nrf2 signaling also increased. Baicalin pretreatment ameliorated H 2O 2-induced cytotoxicity, reduced oxidative stress and ER stress and further activated the anti-oxidative Nrf2 signaling pathway. The inducer of ER stress and the inhibitor of Nrf2 abrogated the protective effects, while the inhibitor of ER stress and the inducer of Nrf2 did not improve the outcome. This study revealed that Baicalin pretreatment serves a protective role against H 2O 2-induced cytotoxicity in HK-2 cells, where the inhibition of ER stress and the activation of downstream Nrf2 signaling are involved.

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          Most cited references 28

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          CHOP is implicated in programmed cell death in response to impaired function of the endoplasmic reticulum.

          Cellular stress, particularly in response to toxic and metabolic insults that perturb function of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER stress), is a powerful inducer of the transcription factor CHOP. The role of CHOP in the response of cells to injury associated with ER stress was examined in a murine deficiency model obtained by homologous recombination at the chop gene. Compared with the wild type, mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from chop -/- animals exhibited significantly less programmed cell death when challenged with agents that perturb ER function. A similar deficit in programmed cells death in response to ER stress was also observed in MEFs that lack CHOP's major dimerization partner, C/EBPbeta, implicating the CHOP-C/EBP pathway in programmed cell death. An animal model for studying the effects of chop on the response to ER stress was developed. It entailed exposing mice with defined chop genotypes to a single sublethal intraperitoneal injection of tunicamycin and resulted in a severe illness characterized by transient renal insufficiency. In chop +/+ and chop +/- mice this was associated with the early expression of CHOP in the proximal tubules followed by the development of a histological picture similar to the human condition known as acute tubular necrosis, a process that resolved by cellular regeneration. In the chop -/- animals, in spite of the severe impairment in renal function, evidence of cellular death in the kidney was reduced compared with the wild type. The proximal tubule epithelium of chop -/- animals exhibited fourfold lower levels of TUNEL-positive cells (a marker for programmed cell death), and significantly less evidence for subsequent regeneration. CHOP therefore has a role in the induction of cell death under conditions associated with malfunction of the ER and may also have a role in cellular regeneration under such circumstances.
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            Brusatol enhances the efficacy of chemotherapy by inhibiting the Nrf2-mediated defense mechanism.

            The major obstacle in cancer treatment is the resistance of cancer cells to therapies. Nrf2 is a transcription factor that regulates a cellular defense response and is ubiquitously expressed at low basal levels in normal tissues due to Keap1-dependent ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Recently, Nrf2 has emerged as an important contributor to chemoresistance. High constitutive expression of Nrf2 was found in many types of cancers, creating an environment conducive for cancer cell survival. Here, we report the identification of brusatol as a unique inhibitor of the Nrf2 pathway that sensitizes a broad spectrum of cancer cells and A549 xenografts to cisplatin and other chemotherapeutic drugs. Mechanistically, brusatol selectively reduces the protein level of Nrf2 through enhanced ubiquitination and degradation of Nrf2. Consequently, expression of Nrf2-downstream genes is reduced and the Nrf2-dependent protective response is suppressed. In A549 xenografts, brusatol and cisplatin cotreatment induced apoptosis, reduced cell proliferation, and inhibited tumor growth more substantially when compared with cisplatin treatment alone. Additionally, A549-K xenografts, in which Nrf2 is expressed at very low levels due to ectopic expression of Keap1, do not respond to brusatol treatment, demonstrating that brusatol-mediated sensitization to cisplatin is Nrf2 dependent. Moreover, a decrease in drug detoxification and impairment in drug removal may be the primary mechanisms by which brusatol enhances the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs. Taken together, these results clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of using brusatol to combat chemoresistance and suggest that brusatol can be developed into an adjuvant chemotherapeutic drug.
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              Prolonged endoplasmic reticulum stress in hypertrophic and failing heart after aortic constriction: possible contribution of endoplasmic reticulum stress to cardiac myocyte apoptosis.

              The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is recognized as an organelle that participates in folding secretory and membrane proteins. The ER responds to stress by upregulating ER chaperones, but prolonged and/or excess ER stress leads to apoptosis. However, the potential role of ER stress in pathophysiological hearts remains unclear. Mice were subjected to transverse aortic constriction (TAC) or sham operation. Echocardiographic analysis demonstrated that mice 1 and 4 weeks after TAC had cardiac hypertrophy and failure, respectively. Cardiac expression of ER chaperones was significantly increased 1 and 4 weeks after TAC, indicating that pressure overload by TAC induced prolonged ER stress. In addition, the number of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL)-positive cells increased, and caspase-3 was cleaved in failing hearts. The antagonism of angiotensin II type 1 receptor prevented upregulation of ER chaperones and apoptosis in failing hearts. On the other hand, angiotensin II upregulated ER chaperones and induced apoptosis in cultured adult rat cardiac myocytes. We also investigated possible signaling pathways for ER-initiated apoptosis. The CHOP- (a transcription factor induced by ER stress), but not JNK- or caspase-12-, dependent pathway was activated in failing hearts by TAC. Pharmacological ER stress inducers upregulated ER chaperones and induced apoptosis in cultured cardiac myocytes. Finally, mRNA levels of ER chaperones were markedly increased in failing hearts of patients with elevated brain natriuretic peptide levels. These findings suggest that pressure overload by TAC induces prolonged ER stress, which may contribute to cardiac myocyte apoptosis during progression from cardiac hypertrophy to failure.

                Author and article information

                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                15 July 2014
                July 2014
                : 15
                : 7
                : 12507-12522
                [1 ]Department of Urology, Fudan University Zhongshan Hospital, Shanghai 20032, China; E-Mails: linmiao@ (M.L.); xu.ming@ (M.X.)
                [2 ]Shanghai Key Laboratory of Organ Transplantation, Shanghai 20032, China; E-Mails: ljlmjw@ (L.L.); yzhang_med@ (Y.Z.); longzheng0814@ (L.Z.)
                Author notes

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                [* ]Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mails: rong.ruiming@ ; tyzhu_dr@ ; Tel.: +86-21-6404-1990 (ext. 2355) (T.Z.).
                © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (


                Molecular biology

                baicalin, kidney, ischemia-reperfusion injury, tubular epithelial cells, er stress, nrf2


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