Arsenic is one of the most common environmental pollutants. Neurotoxicity induced by arsenic has become a major public health concern. However, the effects of arsenic-induced neurotoxicity in the brain and the underlying molecular mechanisms are not well understood. N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) is a thiol-based antioxidant that can antagonize heavy metal-induced neurotoxicity by scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here, we used the mouse oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) line Oli-neu to explore the neurotoxic effects of arsenic and the protective effects of NAC. We found that arsenic exposure decreased cell viability, increased oxidative stress, caused mitochondrial dysfunction, and led to apoptosis of Oli-neu cells. Furthermore, we revealed that NAC treatment reversed these neurotoxic effects of arsenic. TMEM179, a key membrane protein, was found highly expressed in OPCs and to be an important factor in maintaining mitochondrial functions. We found that TMEM179 played a critical role in mediating the neurotoxic effects of arsenic and the protective role of NAC. PKCβ is a downstream factor through which TMEM179 regulates the expression of apoptosis-related proteins. This study improves our understanding of the neurotoxic effects and mechanisms of arsenic exposure and the protective effects of NAC. It also identifies a potential molecular target, TMEM179, for the treatment of arsenic-induced neurotoxicity.
Authors: Zhixin He, Yajing Zhang, Huijie Zhang, Chao Zhou, Qinlong Ma, Ping Deng, Muxue Lu, Zhenlin Mou, Min Lin, Lingling Yang, Yanqi Li, Yang Yue, Huifeng Pi, Yonghui Lu, Mindi He, Lei Zhang, Chunhai Chen, Zhou Zhou, Zhengping Yu
; Full Source: Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2021 Jul 28;223:112554. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2021.112554.