9,10-Phenanthrenequinone (9,10-PQ), a major quinone found in diesel exhaust particles, is considered to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) through its redox cycling. Here, we show that 9,10-PQ evokes apoptosis in human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) and its apoptotic signaling includes ROS generation and caspase activation. The 9,10-PQ-induced cytotoxicity was inhibited by ROS scavengers, indicating that intracellular ROS generation is responsible for the 9,10-PQ-induced apoptosis. Comparison of mRNA expression levels and kinetic constants in the 9,10-PQ reduction among 10 human reductases suggests that aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) is a 9,10-PQ reductase in HAECs. In in vitro 9,10-PQ reduction by AKR1C3, the reduced product 9,10-dihydroxyphenanthrene and superoxide anions were formed, suggesting the enzymatic two-electron reduction of 9,10-PQ that thereby causes oxidative stress through its redox cycling. In addition, the participation of AKR1C3 in 9,10-PQ-redox cycling was confirmed by the data that AKR1C3 overexpression in endothelial cells augmented the ROS generation and cytotoxicity by 9,10-PQ, and the ROS scavengers inhibited the toxic effects. Pretreatment of the overexpressing cells with AKR1C3 inhibitors, flufenamic acid and indomethacin, suppressed the 9,10-PQ-induced GSH depletion. These results suggest that AKR1C3 is a key enzyme in the initial step of 9,10-PQ-induced cytotoxicity in HAECs. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
|Pages (from-to)||52 - 60|
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|