Chemical research in toxicology

Reactive nitrogen species in acetaminophen-induced mitochondrial damage and toxicity in mouse hepatocytes.

PMID 20578685


Acetaminophen (APAP) toxicity in primary mouse hepatocytes occurs in two phases. The initial phase (0-2 h) occurs with metabolism to N-acetyl-p-benzoquinoneimine which depletes glutathione, and covalently binds to proteins, but little toxicity is observed. Subsequent washing of hepatocytes to remove APAP and reincubating in media alone (2-5 h) results in toxicity. We previously reported that the reincubation phase occurs with mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) and increased oxidative stress (dichlorodihydrofluorescein fluorescence) (DCFH(2)). Since DCFH(2) may be oxidized by multiple oxidative mechanisms, we investigated the role of reactive nitrogen species (RNS) leading to 3-nitrotyrosine in proteins by ELISA and by immunoblots. Incubation of APAP with hepatocytes for 2 h did not result in toxicity or protein nitration; however, washing hepatocytes and reincubating in media alone (2-5 h) resulted in protein nitration which correlated with toxicity. Inclusion of the MPT inhibitor, cyclosporine A, in the reincubation media eliminated toxicity and protein nitration. The general nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor L-NMMA and the neuronal NOS (NOS1) inhibitor, 7-nitroindazole, added in the reincubation media decreased toxicity and protein nitration; however, neither the inducible NOS (NOS2) inhibitors L-NIL (N6-(1-iminoethyl)-L-lysine) nor SAIT (S-(2-aminoethyl)isothiourea) decreased protein nitration or toxicity. The RNS scavengers, N-acetylcysteine, and high concentrations of APAP, added in the reincubation phase decreased toxicity and protein nitration. 7-Nitroindazole and cyclosporine A inhibited the APAP-induced loss of mitochondrial membrane potential when added in the reincubation phase. The data indicate a role for RNS in APAP induced toxicity.

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