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Manganese superoxide dismutase mediates the early release of mitochondrial cytochrome C and subsequent DNA fragmentation after permanent focal cerebral ischemia in mice.

Fujimura M., Morita-Fujimura Y., Kawase M., Copin J.C., Calagui B., Epstein C.J., Chan P.H.

Recent studies have shown that release of mitochondrial cytochrome c is a critical step in the apoptosis process. We have reported that cytosolic redistribution of cytochrome c in vivo occurred after transient focal cerebral ischemia (FCI) in rats and preceded the peak of DNA fragmentation. Although the involvement of reactive oxygen species in the cytosolic redistribution of cytochrome c in vitro has been suggested, the detailed mechanism by which cytochrome c release is mediated in vivo has not yet been established. Also, the role of mitochondrial oxidative stress in cytochrome c release is unknown. These issues can be addressed using knock-out mutants that are deficient in the level of the mitochondrial antioxidant manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD). In this study we examined the subcellular distribution of the cytochrome c protein in both wild-type mice and heterozygous knock-outs of the Mn-SOD gene (Sod2 -/+) after permanent FCI, in which apoptosis is assumed to participate. Cytosolic cytochrome c was detected as early as 1 hr after ischemia, and correspondingly, mitochondrial cytochrome c showed a significant reduction 2 hr after ischemia (p < 0.01). Cytosolic accumulation of cytochrome c was significantly higher in Sod2 -/+ mice compared with wild-type animals (p < 0.05). N-benzyloxycarbonyl-val-ala-asp-fluoromethyl ketone (z-VAD.FMK), a nonselective caspase inhibitor, did not affect cytochrome c release after ischemia. A significant amount of DNA laddering was detected 24 hr after ischemia and increased in Sod2 -/+ mice. These data suggest that Mn-SOD blocks cytosolic release of cytochrome c and could thereby reduce apoptosis after permanent FCI.

J. Neurosci. 19:3414-3422(1999) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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