Carbon monoxide modulates apoptosis by reinforcing oxidative metabolism in astrocytes: role of BCL-2.

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Modulation of cerebral cell metabolism for improving the outcome of hypoxia-ischemia and reperfusion is a strategy yet to be explored. Because carbon monoxide (CO) is known to prevent cerebral cell death; herein the role of CO in the modulation of astrocytic metabolism, in particular, at the level of mitochondria was investigated. Low concentrations of CO partially inhibited oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in astrocytes, by preventing caspase-3 activation, mitochondrial potential depolarization and plasmatic membrane permeability. CO exposure enhanced intracellular ATP generation, which was accompanied by an increase on specific oxygen consumption, a decrease on lactate production and a reduction of glucose use, indicating an improvement of oxidative phosphorylation. Accordingly, CO increased cytochrome c oxidase (COX) enzymatic specific activity and stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis. In astrocytes, COX interacts with Bcl-2, which was verified by immunoprecipitation; this interaction is superior after 24 h of CO treatment. Furthermore, CO enhanced Bcl-2 expression in astrocytes. By silencing Bcl-2 expression with siRNA transfection, CO effects in astrocytes were prevented, namely: (i) inhibition of apoptosis, (ii) increase on ATP generation, (iii) stimulation of COX activity and (iv) mitochondrial biogenesis. Thus, Bcl-2 expression is crucial for CO-modulation of oxidative metabolism and for conferring cytoprotection. In conclusion, CO protects astrocytes against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis by improving metabolism functioning, in particular mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10761-10770
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2012


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