Arsenic trioxide, As(III), is a known environmental toxicant, co-carcinogen, and potent chemotherapeutic agent. In model experiments with isolated rat liver mitochondria, As(III) stimulated a dose-dependent, cyclosporin A-sensitive release of cytochrome c via induction of mitochondrial permeability transition and subsequent swelling of mitochondria. Mitochondrial GSH does not seem to be a target for As(III) which, however, appears to cause oxidative modification of thiol groups of pore forming proteins, notably adenine nucleotide translocase. In mouse embryonic fibroblasts, 10 μM As(III) stimulated cytochrome c release and apoptosis via a Bax/Bak-dependent mechanism. At high concentrations (125 μM and higher), cells died by Bax/Bak-independent necrosis; at this concentration range As(III) targets mitochondria directly, particularly complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Since pyruvate, a substrate of complex I, is a predominant mitochondrial substrate in the cell, inhibition of complex I will cause mitochondrial instability and a decrease of Δψ that facilitates permeability transition and necrotic cell death.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2005
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