Apoptosis has been implicated in ischemic renal injury. Thus one strategy of renal protection is to antagonize apoptosis. However, apoptosis inhibitory approaches remain to be fully explored. Zn2+ has long been implicated in apoptosis inhibition; but systematic analysis of the inhibitory effects of Zn2+ is lacking. Moreover, whether Zn2+ blocks renal cell apoptosis following ischemia is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that Zn 2+ is a potent apoptosis inhibitor in an in vitro model of renal cell ischemia. ATP depletion induced apoptosis in cultured renal tubular cells, which was accompanied by caspase activation. Zn2+ at 10 μM inhibited both apoptosis and caspase activation, whereas Co2+ was without effect. In ATP-depleted cells, Zn2+ partially prevented Bax activation and cytochrome c release from mitochondria. In isolated cell cytosol, Zn2+ blocked cytochrome c-stimulated caspase activation at low-micromolar concentrations. In addition, Zn2+ could directly antagonize the enzymatic activity of purified recombinant caspases. We conclude that Zn2+ is a potent inhibitor of apoptosis in renal tubular cells following ATP depletion. Zn2+ blocks apoptosis at multiple steps including Bax activation, cytochrome c release, apoptosome function, and caspase activation.
- Renal tubule
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