The occurrence of acute hepatic failure during systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) is related to the extent of hepatocyte (HC) damage and cell death resulting from necrosis or apoptosis. We hypothesized that proinflammatory mediators such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) can, either directly or indirectly through neutrophil (PMN) and Kupffer cell (KC) activation, induce HC damage and cell death, and that the mechanism is cellular necrosis rather than apoptosis. The results in this study demonstrated that LPS and TNF-alpha alone and in combination are directly cytotoxic to cultured rat HC as indicated by the hepatocellular enzyme release and HC necrosis. However, LPS and TNF-alpha, in the presence of sodium arsenite (a heat shock inducer), were unable to induce HC apoptosis. Both KC and PMN activated by either LPS or TNF-alpha induced significant hepatocellular enzyme release and HC necrosis, which was dependent on the ratio of KC and PMN to HC. It is concluded that LPS and TNF-alpha may play a central role in the development of acute hepatic failure after severe trauma and sepsis by directly or indirectly inducing HC necrosis rather than apoptosis.
In this report, we show that ionizing radiation (IR) at a clinically relevant dose (4 Gy) causes apoptosis in macrovascular and microvascular human endothelial cells. Treatment of irradiated cells with a low dose of bacterial endotoxin (LPS), similar to the levels observed in serum during endotoxemia, enhanced the rate of apoptosis, although LPS alone was unable to induce programmed cell death. The cytokine and endotoxin antagonist interleukin-10 (IL-10) reduced the rate of LPS + IR-induced apoptosis to levels obtained with irradiation alone. Using neutralizing antibodies against tumor necrosis factor- alpha (TNF), we could show crucial involvement of TNF in the LPS- mediated enhancement of IR-induced apoptosis, but not in the IR-induced apoptosis per se. However, further analysis strongly suggested the transmembrane form of TNF (mTNF), but not soluble TNF, to be accountable for the LPS-mediated cytotoxic effects. Studies with anatagonistic receptor specific antibodies clearly showed that TNF receptor type I (TR60) is essential and sufficient to elicit this effect. These findings are of potential clinical importance because they may disclose a relevant mechanism that leads to endothelial damage after radiotherapy or total body irradiation used for conditioning in bone marrow transplantation and that may thus contribute to transplant related complications, especially in association with endotoxemia or related inflammatory states.
Induction of apoptotic cell death generally requires the participation of cysteine proteases belonging to the caspase family. However, and similar to most cell types, mouse fibroblasts are normally resistant to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)-induced apoptosis. Surprisingly, TNF-α treatment of vaccinia virus-infected mouse fibroblasts resulted in necrotic-like cell death, which was significantly reduced in cells infected with a vaccinia virus mutant lacking the caspase inhibitor B13R. Furthermore, TNF-α also induced necrotic-like cell death of fibroblasts in the presence of peptidyl caspase inhibitors. In both cases, necrosis was accompanied by generation of superoxide species. Caspase inhibitors also sensitized fibroblasts to killing by double-stranded RNA and gamma interferon. In all cases, cell death was efficiently blocked by antioxidants or mitochondrial respiratory chain inhibitors. These results define a new mitochondrion-dependent mechanism which may be important in the killing of cells infected with viruses encoding caspase inhibitors.
The human promonocytic cell line U937 undergoes apoptosis upon treatment with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). This cell line has previously been shown to be very sensitive to the lytic effect of the autonomous parvovirus H-1. Parvovirus infection leads to the activation of the CPP32 ICE-like cysteine protease which cleaves the enzyme poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase and induces morphologic changes that are characteristic of apoptosis in a way that is similar to TNF-α treatment. This effect is also observed when the U937 cells are infected with a recombinant H-1 virus which expresses the nonstructural (NS) proteins but in which the capsid genes are replaced by a reporter gene, indicating that the induction of apoptosis can be assigned to the cytotoxic nonstructural proteins in this cell system. The c-Myc protein, which is overexpressed in U937 cells, is rapidly downregulated during infection, in keeping with a possible role of this product in mediating the apoptotic cell death induced by H-1 virus infection. Interestingly, four clones (designated RU) derived from the U937 cell line and selected for their resistance to H-1 virus (J. A. Lopez-Guerrero et al., Blood 89:1642–1653, 1997) failed to decrease c-Myc expression upon treatment with differentiation agents and also resisted the induction of cell death after TNF-α treatment. Our data suggest that the RU clones have developed defense strategies against apoptosis, either by their failure to downregulate c-Myc and/or by activating antiapoptotic factors.