Calcium in the mechanism of ammonia-induced astrocyte swelling
Jayakumar, Arumugam R. | Rama Rao, Kakulavarapu V. | Tong, Xiaoying Y. | Norenberg, Michael D.
Brain edema, due largely to astrocyte swelling, is an important clinical problem in patients with acute liver failure. While mechanisms underlying astrocyte swelling in this condition are not fully understood, ammonia and associated oxidative/nitrosative stress appear to be involved. Mechanisms responsible for the increase in reactive oxygen/nitrogen species (RONS) and their role in ammonia-induced astrocyte swelling, however, are poorly understood. Recent studies have demonstrated a transient increase in intracellular Ca²⁺ in cultured astrocytes exposed to ammonia. As Ca²⁺ is a known inducer of RONS, we investigated potential mechanisms by which Ca²⁺ may be responsible for the production of RONS and cell swelling in cultured astrocytes after treatment with ammonia. Exposure of cultured astrocytes to ammonia (5 mM) increased the formation of free radicals, including nitric oxide, and such increase was significantly diminished by treatment with the Ca²⁺ chelator 1,2-bis-(o-aminophenoxy)-ethane-N,N,-N',N'-tetraacetic acid tetraacetoxy-methyl ester (BAPTA). We then examined the activity of Ca²⁺-dependent enzymes that are known to generate RONS and found that ammonia significantly increased the activities of NADPH oxidase (NOX), constitutive nitric oxide synthase (cNOS), and phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and such increases in activity were significantly diminished by BAPTA. Pre-treatment of cultures with 7-nitroindazole, apocyanin, and quinacrine, respective inhibitors of cNOS, NOX, and PLA2, all significantly diminished RONS production. Additionally, treatment of cultures with BAPTA or with inhibitors of cNOS, NOX, and PLA2 reduced ammonia-induced astrocyte swelling. These studies suggest that the ammonia-induced rise in intracellular Ca²⁺ activates free radical producing enzymes that ultimately contribute to the mechanism of astrocyte swelling.Show more [+] Less [-]