Thimerosal generates superoxide anion by activating NADPH oxidase: a mechanism of thimerosal-induced calcium release

  • Kim, Eui-Kyung (Department of Life Science, Division of Molecular and Life Science, Pohang University of Science & Technology) ;
  • Ryu, Sung-Ho (Department of Life Science, Division of Molecular and Life Science, Pohang University of Science & Technology) ;
  • Suh, Pann-Ghill (Department of Life Science, Division of Molecular and Life Science, Pohang University of Science & Technology)
  • Published : 2002.12.01

Abstract

Thimerosal, a widely used preservative, has been well known to induce intracellular calcium mobilization in various cell types. However, the mechanism of its calcium mobilization is not clearly understood yet. For studying the mechanism of thimerosal-mediated calcium release, we have used HL60 cells in calcium-free Lockes solution that has no extracellular calcium. Thimerosal significantly reduced the lag period of initial calcium release whereas it enhanced the rate and magnitude of the calcium release in a dose-dependent manner. At the same time, we found that thimerosal generated superoxide anion by activating NADPH oxidase in dose- and time-dependent manner. Interestingly, the kinetics and the dosedependency of superoxide anion generation were very similar to those of intracellular calcium mobilization. In inhibitors study, the thimerosal-induced superoxide anion generation was significantly suppressed by DMSO as well as superoxide dismutase but not by genistein or EGTA. Surprisingly, the pretreatment with N-Acetyl-$_{L}$-Cysteine blocked almost completely the thimerosal-induced calcium increase, indicating that ROS playa key role in the calcium mobilization. The present results suggest that thimerosal-induced calcium mobilization is possibly mediated by the activation of NADPH oxidase and subsequent ROS generation.n.