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The role of death effector domain-containing proteins in acute oxidative cell injury in hepatocytes

Free Radical Biology and Medicine
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.02.049
  • Fadd
  • Cflip
  • Oxidant Stress
  • Mapk
  • Apoptosis
  • Hepatocyte
  • Free Radicals
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract Apoptosis is a mechanism that regulates hepatic tissue homeostasis and contributes to both acute and chronic injury in liver disease. The apoptotic signaling cascade involves activation of the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) and subsequent recruitment of proteins containing death effector domains (DED), which regulate downstream effector molecules. Prominent among these are the Fas-associated death domain (FADD) and the cellular caspase 8-like inhibitory protein (cFLIP), and alterations in these proteins can lead to severe disruption of physiological processes, including acute liver failure or hepatocellular carcinoma. Their role in cell signaling events independent of the DISC remains undetermined. Oxidative stress can cause cell injury from direct effects on molecules or by activating intracellular signaling pathways including the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs). In this context, prolonged activation of the cJun N-terminal kinase (JNK)/AP-1/cJun signaling pathway promotes hepatocellular apoptosis, whereas activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) exerts protection. We investigated the roles of FADD and cFLIP in acute oxidant stress induced by the superoxide generator menadione in hepatocytes. Menadione resulted in dose-dependent predominantly necrotic cell death. Hepatocytes expressing a truncated, dominant-negative FADD protein were partially protected, whereas cFLIP-deficient hepatocytes displayed increased cell death from menadione. In parallel, Erk phosphorylation was enhanced in hepatocytes expressing dnFADD and decreased in cFLIP-deficient hepatocytes. Hepatocyte injury was accompanied by increased release of proapoptotic factors and increased JNK/cJun activation. Thus, FADD and cFLIP contribute to the regulation of cell death from acute oxidant stress in hepatocytes involving MAPK signaling. This implies that DED-containing proteins are involved in the regulation of cellular survival beyond their role in cell death receptor–ligand-mediated apoptosis.

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