Ferroptosis is newly characterised form of neuronal cell death in response to arsenite exposure

Ferroptosis is a novel iron-dependent form of cell death implicated in brain pathology. However, whether arsenite is an inducer of ferroptosis in the neuron remains completely unknown. In this study, the seven-week-old healthy C57BL/6?J male mice were treated with environmental related doses (0.5, 5 and 50?mg/L) of arsenite for 6 months via drinking water, and the ferroptosis-related indicators were further determined. Our results demonstrated for the first time that, arsenite exposure significantly reduced the number of neuron and caused the pathological changes of mitochondria in the cerebral cortex of mice. The authors further revealed that arsenite induced ferroptotic cell death in neuron by accumulation of reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation products, disruption of Fe2+ homeostasis, depletion of glutathione and adenosine triphosphate, inhibition of cysteine/glutamate antiporter, activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases and mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channels pathways, up-regulation of endoplasmic reticulum stress, all of which were involved in the process of ferroptosis. These findings were also verified in the cultured PC-12 cells by using ferropotosis inhibitor, desferoxamine. Taken together, the results not only reveal a novel mechanism that chronic arsenite exposure may trigger the new form of cell death, ferroptosis, but also shed a new light on a potential clue for the intervention and prevention against arsenite-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Authors: Tang Q, Bai L, Zou Z, Meng P, Xia Y, Cheng S, Mu S, Zhou J, Wang X, Qin X, Cao X, Jiang X, Chen C. ; Full Source: Neurotoxicology. 2018 Apr 17; 67:27-36. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2018.04.012. [Epub ahead of print]