Due to their amphiphilic properties, detergents readily disrupt cellular membranes and cause rapid cytolysis. In this study we demonstrate that treatment of cells with sublytic concentrations of detergents such as Triton X-100, Nonidet P-40, n-octylglucoside and the bile salt sodium deoxycholate induce typical signs of apoptosis including DNA fragmentation and cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase molecules. The detergent concentration required for apoptosis was below the critical micellar concentration. Induction of apoptosis was not restricted to human cells but similarly occurred in a variety of other vertebrate cell lines. Unstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells were susceptible to apoptosis induction by detergent suggesting that apoptosis in this circumstance is not mediated by CD95. Cell death was not due to influx of calcium from the medium. Apoptosis was blocked and cytolysis prevented by treatment with peptide inhibitors of caspases. These findings suggest a process of apoptosis that is initiated upon nonspecific alterations at the cell membrane level. Physiologic correlates of this process still have to be defined.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2000
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