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4-Hydroxy-2-nonenal induces apoptosis by activating ERK1/2 signaling and depleting intracellular glutathione in intestinal epithelial cells

Excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) induces oxidative damage to cellular constituents, ultimately leading to induction of apoptotic cell death and the pathogenesis of various diseases. The molecular mechanisms for the action of ROS in intestinal diseases remain poorly defined. Here, we reported that 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) treatment led to capses-3-dependent apoptosis accompanied by increased intracellular ROS level and reduced glutathione concentration in intestinal epithelial cells. These effects of 4-HNE were markedly abolished by the antioxidant L-cysteine derivative N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Further studies demonstrated that the protective effect of NAC was associated with restoration of intracellular redox state by Nrf2-related regulation of expression of genes involved in intracellular glutathione (GSH) biosynthesis and inactivation of 4-HNE-induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases (ERK1/2). The 4-HNE-induced ERK1/2 activation was mediated by repressing mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 (MKP-1), a negative regulator of ERK1/2, through a proteasome-dependent degradation mechanism. Importantly, either overexpression of MKP-1 or NAC treatment blocked 4-HNE-induced MKP-1 degradation, thereby protecting cell from apoptosis. These novel findings provide new insights into a functional role of MKP-1 in oxidative stress-induced cell death by regulating ERK1/2 MAP kinase in intestinal epithelial cells.

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