Perfluorooctane sulfonate induces autophagy-associated apoptosis through oxidative stress and the activation of extracellular signal–regulated kinases in renal tubular cells

Li Li Wen, Yen Ting Chen, Yuan Chii Gladys Lee, Tsui Ling Ko, Hsiu Chu Chou, Shu Hui Juan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is among the most abundant organic pollutants and is widely distributed in the environment, wildlife, and humans. Its toxic effects and biological hazards are associated with its long elimination half-life in humans. However, how it affects renal tubular cells (RTCs) remains unclear. In this study, PFOS was observed to mediate the increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, followed by the activation of the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) pathway, which induced autophagy in RTCs. Although PFOS treatment induced autophagy after 6 h, prolonged treatment (24 h) reduced the autophagic flux by increasing lysosomal membrane permeability (LMP), leading to increased p62 protein accumulation and subsequent apoptosis. The increase in LMP was visualized through increased green fluorescence with acridine orange staining, and this was attenuated by 3-methyladenine, an autophagy inhibitor. N-acetyl cysteine and an inhibitor of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases (U0126) attenuated autophagy and apoptosis. Taken together, these results indicate that ROS activation and ROS-mediated phosphorylated ERK1/2 activation are essential to activate autophagy, resulting in the apoptosis of PFOS-treated RTCs. Our findings provide insight into the mechanism of PFOS-mediated renal toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0245442
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number1 January
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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