Chiu PY, Chen N, Leong PK, Leung HY, Ko KM
Division of Life Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong, China.
This study investigated the signal transduction pathway involved in the cytoprotective action of (-)schisandrin B [(-)Sch B, a stereoisomer of Sch B]. Using H9c2 cells, the authors examined the effects of (-)Sch B on MAPK and Nrf2 activation, as well as the subsequent eliciting of glutathione response and protection against apoptosis. Pharmacological tools, such as cytochrome P-450 (CYP) inhibitor, antioxidant, MAPK inhibitor, and Nrf2 RNAi, were used to delineate the signaling pathway. (-)Sch B caused a time-dependent activation of MAPK in H9c2 cells, with the degree of ERK activation being much larger than that of p38 or JNK. The MAPK activation was followed by an increase in the level of nuclear Nrf2, an indirect measure of Nrf2 activation, and the eliciting of a glutathione antioxidant response. The activation of MAPK and Nrf2 seemed to involve oxidants generated from a CYP-catalyzed reaction with (-)Sch B. Both ERK inhibition by U0126 and Nrf2 suppression by Nrf2 RNAi transfection largely abolished the cytoprotection against hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced apoptosis in (-)Sch B-pretreated cells. (-)Sch B pretreatment potentiated the reoxygenation-induced ERK activation, whereas both p38 and JNK activations were suppressed. Under the condition of ERK inhibition, Sch B treatment did not protect against ischemia/reperfusion injury in an ex vivo rat heart model. The results indicate that (-)Sch B triggers a redox-sensitive ERK/Nrf2 signaling, which then elicits a cellular glutathione antioxidant response and protects against hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced apoptosis in H9c2 cells. The ERK-mediated signaling is also likely involved in the cardioprotection afforded by Sch B in vivo.