International journal of molecular sciences

Modulation of the PI3K/Akt Pathway and Bcl-2 Family Proteins Involved in Chicken's Tubular Apoptosis Induced by Nickel Chloride (NiCl₂).

PMID 26404262


Exposure of people and animals to environments highly polluted with nickel (Ni) can cause pathologic effects. Ni compounds can induce apoptosis, but the mechanism and the pathway of Ni compounds-induced apoptosis are unclear. We evaluated the alterations of apoptosis, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)/serine-threonine kinase (Akt) pathway, and Bcl-2 family proteins induced by nickel chloride (NiCl₂) in the kidneys of broiler chickens, using flow cytometry, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase 2'-deoxyuridine 5'-triphosphate dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL), immunohistochemstry and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). We found that dietary NiCl₂ in excess of 300 mg/kg resulted in a significant increase in apoptosis, which was associated with decrease in MMP, and increase in apoptosis inducing factor (AIF) and endonuclease G (EndoG) protein and mRNA expression. Concurrently, NiCl₂ inhibited the PI3K/Akt pathway, which was characterized by decreasing PI3K, Akt1 and Akt2 mRNA expression levels. NiCl₂ also reduced the protein and mRNA expression of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL and increased the protein and mRNA expression of pro-apoptotic Bax and Bak. These results show that NiCl₂ causes mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis by disruption of MMP and increased expression of AIF and EndoG mRNA and protein, and that the underlying mechanism of MMP loss involves the Bcl-2 family proteins modulation and PI3K/Akt pathway inhibition.