Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology

Rotenone induction of hydrogen peroxide inhibits mTOR-mediated S6K1 and 4E-BP1/eIF4E pathways, leading to neuronal apoptosis.

PMID 25304210


Rotenone, a common pesticide and inhibitor of mitochondrial complex I, induces loss of dopaminergic neurons and consequential aspects of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the exact mechanism of rotenone neurotoxicity is not fully elucidated. Here, we show that rotenone induced reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to apoptotic cell death in PC12 cells and primary neurons. Pretreatment with catalase (CAT), a hydrogen peroxide-scavenging enzyme, attenuated rotenone-induced ROS and neuronal apoptosis, implying hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂) involved, which was further verified by imaging intracellular H₂O₂ using a peroxide-selective probe H2DCFDA. Using thenoyltrifluoroacetone (TTFA), antimycin A, or Mito-TEMPO, we further demonstrated rotenone-induced mitochondrial H₂O₂-dependent neuronal apoptosis. Rotenone dramatically inhibited mTOR-mediated phosphorylation of S6K1 and 4E-BP1, which was also attenuated by CAT in the neuronal cells. Of interest, ectopic expression of wild-type mTOR or constitutively active S6K1, or downregulation of 4E-BP1 partially prevented rotenone-induced H₂O₂ and cell apoptosis. Furthermore, we noticed that rotenone-induced H₂O₂ was linked to the activation of caspase-3 pathway. This was evidenced by the finding that pretreatment with CAT partially blocked rotenone-induced cleavages of caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. Of note, zVAD-fmk, a pan caspase inhibitor, only partially prevented rotenone-induced apoptosis in PC12 cells and primary neurons. Expression of mTOR-wt, S6K1-ca, or silencing 4E-BP1 potentiated zVAD-fmk protection against rotenone-induced apoptosis in the cells. The results indicate that rotenone induction of H₂O₂ inhibits mTOR-mediated S6K1 and 4E-BP1/eIF4E pathways, resulting in caspase-dependent and -independent apoptosis in neuronal cells. Our findings suggest that rotenone-induced neuronal loss in PD may be prevented by activating mTOR signaling and/or administering antioxidants.

Related Materials