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1.  The influence of N-acetyl-L-cysteine on oxidative stress and nitric oxide synthesis in stimulated macrophages treated with a mustard gas analogue 
BMC Cell Biology  2008;9:33.
Background
Sulphur mustard gas, 2, 2'-dichlorodiethyl sulphide (HD), is a chemical warfare agent. Both mustard gas and its monofunctional analogue, 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulphide (CEES), are alkylating agents that react with and diminish cellular thiols and are highly toxic. Previously, we reported that lipopolysaccharide (LPS) significantly enhances the cytotoxicity of CEES in murine RAW 264.7 macrophages and that CEES transiently inhibits nitric oxide (NO) production via suppression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) protein expression. NO generation is an important factor in wound healing. In this paper, we explored the hypotheses that LPS increases CEES toxicity by increasing oxidative stress and that treatment with N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) would block LPS induced oxidative stress and protect against loss of NO production. NAC stimulates glutathione (GSH) synthesis and also acts directly as a free radical scavenger. The potential therapeutic use of the antibiotic, polymyxin B, was also evaluated since it binds to LPS and could thereby block the enhancement of CEES toxicity by LPS and also inhibit the secondary infections characteristic of HD/CEES wounds.
Results
We found that 10 mM NAC, when administered simultaneously or prior to treatment with 500 μM CEES, increased the viability of LPS stimulated macrophages. Surprisingly, NAC failed to protect LPS stimulated macrophages from CEES induced loss of NO production. Macrophages treated with both LPS and CEES show increased oxidative stress parameters (cellular thiol depletion and increased protein carbonyl levels). NAC effectively protected RAW 264.7 cells simultaneously treated with CEES and LPS from GSH loss and oxidative stress. Polymyxin B was found to partially block nitric oxide production and diminish CEES toxicity in LPS-treated macrophages.
Conclusion
The present study shows that oxidative stress is an important mechanism contributing to CEES toxicity in LPS stimulated macrophages and supports the notion that antioxidants could play a therapeutic role in preventing mustard gas toxicity. Although NAC reduced oxidative stress in LPS stimulated macrophages treated with CEES, it did not reverse CEES-induced loss of NO production. NAC and polymyxin B were found to help prevent CEES toxicity in LPS-treated macrophages.
doi:10.1186/1471-2121-9-33
PMCID: PMC2446388  PMID: 18570648
2.  Inhibition of inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase by a mustard gas analog in murine macrophages 
BMC Cell Biology  2006;7:39.
Background
2-Chloroethyl ethyl sulphide (CEES) is a sulphur vesicating agent and an analogue of the chemical warfare agent 2,2'-dichlorodiethyl sulphide, or sulphur mustard gas (HD). Both CEES and HD are alkylating agents that influence cellular thiols and are highly toxic. In a previous publication, we reported that lipopolysaccharide (LPS) enhances the cytotoxicity of CEES in murine RAW264.7 macrophages. In the present investigation, we studied the influence of CEES on nitric oxide (NO) production in LPS stimulated RAW264.7 cells since NO signalling affects inflammation, cell death, and wound healing. Murine macrophages stimulated with LPS produce NO almost exclusively via inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) activity. We suggest that the influence of CEES or HD on the cellular production of NO could play an important role in the pathophysiological responses of tissues to these toxicants. In particular, it is known that macrophage generated NO synthesised by iNOS plays a critical role in wound healing.
Results
We initially confirmed that in LPS stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages NO is exclusively generated by the iNOS form of nitric oxide synthase. CEES treatment inhibited the synthesis of NO (after 24 hours) in viable LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages as measured by either nitrite secretion into the culture medium or the intracellular conversion of 4,5-diaminofluorescein diacetate (DAF-2DA) or dichlorofluorescin diacetate (DCFH-DA). Western blots showed that CEES transiently decreased the expression of iNOS protein; however, treatment of active iNOS with CEES in vitro did not inhibit its enzymatic activity
Conclusion
CEES inhibits NO production in LPS stimulated macrophages by decreasing iNOS protein expression. Decreased iNOS expression is likely the result of CEES induced alteration in the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signalling pathway. Since NO can act as an antioxidant, the CEES induced down-regulation of iNOS in LPS-stimulated macrophages could elevate oxidative stress. Since macrophage generated NO is known to play a key role in cutaneous wound healing, it is possible that this work has physiological relevance with respect to the healing of HD induced skin blisters.
doi:10.1186/1471-2121-7-39
PMCID: PMC1698482  PMID: 17137498
3.  Lipopolysaccharide enhances the cytotoxicity of 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide 
BMC Cell Biology  2003;4:1.
Background
The bacterial endotoxin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), is a well-characterized inflammatory factor found in the cell wall of Gram-negative bacteria. In this investigation, we studied the cytotoxic interaction between 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide (CEES or ClCH2CH2SCH2CH3) and LPS using murine RAW264.7 macrophages. CEES is a sulfur vesicating agent and is an analog of 2,2'-dichlorodiethyl sulfide (sulfur mustard). LPS is a ubiquitous natural agent found in the environment. The ability of LPS and other inflammatory agents (such as TNF-alpha and IL-1beta) to modulate the toxicity of CEES is likely to be an important factor in the design of effective treatments.
Results
RAW 264.7 macrophages stimulated with LPS were found to be more susceptible to the cytotoxic effect of CEES than unstimulated macrophages. Very low levels of LPS (20 ng/ml) dramatically enhanced the toxicity of CEES at concentrations greater than 400 μM. The cytotoxic interaction between LPS and CEES reached a maximum 12 hours after exposure. In addition, we found that tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1-beta (IL-1-beta) as well as phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) also enhanced the cytotoxic effects of CEES but to a lesser extent than LPS.
Conclusion
Our in vitro results suggest the possibility that LPS and inflammatory cytokines could enhance the toxicity of sulfur mustard. Since LPS is a ubiquitous agent in the natural environment, its presence is likely to be an important variable influencing the cytotoxicity of sulfur mustard toxicity. We have initiated further experiments to determine the molecular mechanism whereby the inflammatory process influences sulfur mustard cytotoxicity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2121-4-1
PMCID: PMC140312  PMID: 12513699

Results 1-3 (3)