The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics

The expression of heme oxygenase-1 gene responded to oxidative stress produced by phorone, a glutathione depletor, in the rat liver; the relevance to activation of c-jun n-terminal kinase.

PMID 9808709


Phorone, a glutathione (GSH) depletor, induces the expression of mRNAs of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and c-jun by mediating the activation of activated protein-1 (AP-1) in rat livers. We have shown that phorone activates c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), thus leading to c-Jun phosphorylation, and transactivation of AP-1 and HO-1 gene expression in the rat liver in response to oxidative stress. The in-gel kinase assay showed that phorone activated JNK1 predominantly in the rat liver nuclear extract. The JNK activation by phorone was slightly observed at 1 hr after administration and gradually increased with time. Ser73-phosphorylation of c-Jun catalyzed by JNK was significantly altered by changing hepatic GSH levels based on the results observed by the combined injection of buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) or GSH isopropyl ester (GIP) with phorone. Namely, BSO, an inhibitor of GSH biosynthesis, enhanced phorone-mediated c-Jun phosphorylation as well as AP-1 binding activity. However, GSH isopropyl ester prevented GSH depletion and abolished both c-Jun phosphorylation and the activation of AP-1 binding evoked by phorone. GSH isopropyl ester also suppressed phorone-produced HO-1 and c-jun gene expressions to 25 and 30% of the induced level. Perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) reduced GSH S-transferase activity, prevented phorone-mediated GSH depletion and abolished either HO-1 or c-jun mRNA induction by phorone. These results indicated that oxidative stress under GSH depletion produced by phorone could activate preferentially JNK and lead to the transcriptional activation of AP-1 and consequently to HO-1 gene expression. This study suggests that JNK activation could be one of the major signaling pathways to transmit intracellular events to the nuclei during oxidative stress via GSH depletion by phorone in rat livers.