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Celastrol prevents cadmium-induced neuronal cell death via targeting JNK and PTEN-Akt/mTOR network.

Journal of neurochemistry (2013-10-12)
Sujuan Chen, Chenjian Gu, Chong Xu, Jinfei Zhang, Yijiao Xu, Qian Ren, Min Guo, Shile Huang, Long Chen
ABSTRACT

Cadmium (Cd), a toxic environmental contaminant, induces neurodegenerative diseases. Celastrol, a plant-derived triterpene, has shown neuroprotective effects in various disease models. However, little is known regarding the effect of celastrol on Cd-induced neurotoxicity. Here, we show that celastrol protected against Cd-induced apoptotic cell death in neuronal cells. This is supported by the findings that celastrol strikingly attenuated Cd-induced viability reduction, morphological change, nuclear fragmentation, and condensation, as well as activation of caspase-3 in neuronal cells. Concurrently, celastrol remarkably blocked Cd-induced phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), but not extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 and p38, in neuronal cells. Inhibition of JNK by SP600125 or over-expression of dominant negative c-Jun potentiated celastrol protection against Cd-induced cell death. Furthermore, pre-treatment with celastrol prevented Cd down-regulation of phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) and activation of phosphoinositide 3'-kinase/protein kinase B (Akt)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling in neuronal cells. Over-expression of wild-type PTEN enhanced celastrol inhibition of Cd-activated Akt/mTOR signaling and cell death in neuronal cells. The findings indicate that celastrol prevents Cd-induced neuronal cell death via targeting JNK and PTEN-Akt/mTOR network. Our results strongly suggest that celastrol may be exploited for the prevention of Cd-induced neurodegenerative disorders. Celastrol, a plant-derived triterpene, has shown neuroprotective effects. However, little is known regarding the effect of celastrol on cadmium (Cd) neurotoxicity. This study underscores that celastrol prevents Cd-induced neuronal apoptosis via inhibiting activation of JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase) and Akt/mTOR network. Celastrol suppresses Cd-activated Akt/mTOR pathway by elevating PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog). The findings suggest that celastrol may be exploited for the prevention of Cd-induced neurodegenerative disorders.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Cadmium chloride, 99.99% trace metals basis
Sigma-Aldrich
Cadmium chloride, technical grade
Sigma-Aldrich
Celastrol, ≥98% (HPLC), solid