Mechanism and Inhibition of Hypochlorous Acid-Mediated Cell Death in Human Monocyte-Derived Macrophages
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is a powerful oxidant produced by activated phagocytes at sites of inflammation to kill a wide range of pathogens. Yet, it may also damage and kill the neighbouring host cells. The abundance of dead macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques and their colocalization with HOCl-modified proteins implicate HOCl may play a role in killing macrophages, contributing to disease progression. The first part of this research was to investigate the cytotoxic effect and cell death mechanism(s) of HOCl on macrophages. Macrophages require efficient defense mechanism(s) against HOCl to function properly at inflammatory sites. The second part of the thesis was to examine the antioxidative effects of glutathione (GSH) and 7,8-dihydroneopterin (7,8-NP) on HOCl-induced cellular damage in macrophages. GSH is an efficient scavenger of HOCl and a major intracellular antioxidant against oxidative stress, whereas 7,8-NP is secreted by human macrophages upon interferon-γ (IFN-γ) induction during inflammation and can also scavenge HOCl. HOCl caused concentration-dependent cell viability loss in human monocyte derived macrophage (HMDM) cells above a specific concentration threshold. HOCl reacted with HMDMs to cause viability loss within the first 10 minutes of treatment, and it posed no latent effect on the cells afterwards regardless of the HOCl concentrations. The lack of caspase-3 activation, rapid influx of propidium iodide (PI) dye, rapid loss of intracellular ATP and cell morphological changes (cell swelling, cell membrane integrity loss and rupture) were observed in HMDM cells treated with HOCl. These results indicate that HOCl caused HMDM cells to undergo necrotic cell death. In addition to the loss of intracellular ATP, HOCl also caused rapid loss of GAPDH enzymatic activity and mitochondrial membrane potential, indicating impairment of the metabolic energy production. Loss of the mitochondrial membrane potential was mediated by mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT), as blocking MPT pore formation using cyclosporin A (CSA) prevented mitochondrial membrane potential loss. HOCl caused an increase in cytosolic calcium ion (Ca2+) level, which was due to both intra- and extra-cellular sources. However, extracellular sources only contributed significantly above a certain HOCl concentration. Preventing cytosolic Ca2+ increase significantly inhibited HOCl-induced cell viability loss. This suggests that cytosolic Ca2+ increase was associated with HOCl-induced necrotic cell death in HMDM cells, possibly via the activation of Ca2+-dependent calpain cysteine proteases. Calpain inhibitors prevented HOCl-induced lysosomal destabilisation and cell viability loss in HMDM cells. Calpains induced HOCl-induced necrotic cell death possibly by degrading cytoskeletal and other cellular proteins, or causing the release of cathepsin proteases from ruptured lysosomes that also degraded cellular components. The HOCl-induced cytosolic Ca2+ increase also caused mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation and MPT activation-mediated mitochondrial membrane potential loss. MPT activation, like calpain activation, was also associated with the HOCl-induced necrotic cell death, as preventing MPT activation completely inhibited HOCl-induced cell viability loss. The involvement of both calpain activation and MPT activation in HOCl-induced necrotic cell death in HMDM cells implies a cause and effect relationship between these two events. HMDM cells depleted of intracellular GSH using diethyl maleate showed increased susceptibility towards HOCl insult compared to HMDM cells with intact intracellular GSH levels, indicating that intracellular GSH played an important role in protecting HMDM cells against HOCl exposure. Intracellular GSH level in each HMDM cell preparation directly correlated with HOCl concentration required to kill 50% of population for each cell preparation, indicating intracellular GSH concentrations determine the efficiency of GSH in preventing HOCl-induced damage to HMDM cells. Intracellular GSH and cell viability loss induced by 400 μM HOCl were significantly prevented by 300 μM extracellular 7,8-NP, indicating that added 7,8-NP is an efficient scavenger of HOCl and out-competed intracellular GSH for HOCl. The amount of 7,8-NP synthesized by HMDM cells upon IFN-γ induction was too low to efficiently prevent HOCl-mediated intracellular GSH and cell viability loss. HOCl clearly causes HMDM cells to undergo necrosis when the concentration exceeds the intracellular GSH concentrations. Above this concentration HOCl causes oxidative damage to the Ca2+ ion channels on cell and ER membranes, resulting in an influx of Ca2+ ions into the cytosol and possibly the mitochondria. The rise in Ca2+ ions triggers calpain activation, resulting in the MPT-mediated loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, lysosomal instability and cellular necrosis.