Modulation of Antioxidant Enzyme Expression and Activity by Paraquat in Renal Epithelial NRK-52E Cells

  • M Samai
  • S Boccuti
  • HH Samai
  • PR Gard
  • PK Chatterjee
Keywords: Anti-oxidant enzymes, NRK-52E renal cell line, Oxidative stress, Paraquat


Renal toxicity produced by paraquat involves the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can overwhelm antioxidant defences, leading to oxidant injury. However, there are conflicting reports regarding the activity and/or expression of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) during oxidative stress injury. This study investigated the activity and expression of these enzymes in a renal epithelial cell line following exposure to paraquat. Confluent NRK-52E cells were incubated with increasing concentrations of paraquat (1-100mM) for up to 24 hours. Renal cell death was determined by measurement of lactate dehydrogenase release. Oxidant damage was determined via measurement of malondialdehyde formation and DNA strand breaks. The effects of paraquat on DNA and de novo protein synthesis were determined using radio-labelled thymidine and leucine respectively. ROS generation (superoxide anion and hydroxyl radical formation) was measured using nitro-bluetetrazolium and deoxyribose assays. Antioxidant enzyme activities and expression were measured using established biochemical assays and Western blot analysis. Exposure of confluent NRK-52E cells to paraquat resulted in significant cell death involving increased lipid peroxidation, DNA damage and inhibition of DNA and de novo protein synthesis. Renal cell injury and death were secondary to increased ROS generation. Incubation with paraquat reduced SOD and CAT activities; in contrast, GSH-Px activity increased significantly. Although SOD expression was significantly reduced, catalase expression was unaffected. These results indicate that paraquat mediates renal toxicity via oxidative stress involving both an increase in ROS generation and reductions in SOD and CAT activities with a concomitant reduction in SOD expression.

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eISSN: 2076-6270
print ISSN: 2076-6270