Toxicology and applied pharmacology

Ozone (O3) elicits neurotoxicity in spinal cord neurons (SCNs) by inducing ER Ca(2+) release and activating the CaMKII/MAPK signaling pathway.

PMID 25193615


Ozone (O3) is widely used in the treatment of spinal cord related diseases. Excess or accumulation of this photochemical air can however be neurotoxic. In this study, in vitro cultured Wister rat spinal cord neurons (SCNs) were used to investigate the detrimental effects and underlying mechanisms of O3. Ozone in a dose-dependent manner inhibited cell viability at a range of 20 to 500 μg/ml, with the dose at 40 μg/ml resulting in a decrease of cell viability to 75%. The cell death after O3 exposure was related to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium (Ca(2+)) release. Intracellular Ca(2+) chelator, ER stabilizer (inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R) antagonist and ryanodine receptor (RyR) antagonist) and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) antagonist could effectively block Ca(2+) mobilization and inhibit cell death following 40 μg/ml O3 exposure. In addition, ER Ca(2+) release due to O3 exposure enhanced phospho-p38 and phospho-JNK levels and apoptosis of SCNs through activating CaMKII. Based on these results, we confirm that ozone elicits neurotoxicity in SCNs via inducing ER Ca(2+) release and activating CaMKII/MAPK signaling pathway. Therefore, physicians should get attention to the selection of treatment concentrations of oxygen/ozone. And, approaches, such as chelating intracellular Ca(2+) and stabilizing neuronal Ca(2+) homeostasis could effectively ameliorate the neurotoxicity of O3.