Hydrogen sulphide mitigates homocysteine-induced apoptosis and matrix remodelling in mesangial cells through Akt/FOXO1 signalling cascade.


Department of Physiology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY, United States of America. Electronic address: [Email]


Cellular damage and accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) protein in the glomerulo-interstitial space are the signatures of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy), a high level of homocysteine (Hcy) is associated with CKD and further contributes to kidney damage. Despite a large number of studies, the signalling mechanism of Hcy-mediated cellular damage and ECM remodelling in kidney remains inconclusive. Hcy metabolizes to produce hydrogen sulphide (H2S), and a number of studies have shown that H2S mitigates the adverse effect of HHcy in a variety of diseases involving several signalling molecules, including forkhead box O (FOXO) protein. FOXO is a group of transcription factor that includes FOXO1, which plays important roles in cell growth and proliferation. On the other hand, a cell survival factor, Akt regulates FOXO under normal condition. However, the involvement of Akt/FOXO1 pathway in Hcy-induced mesangial cell damage remains elusive, and whether H2S plays any protective roles has yet to be clearly defined. We treated mouse mesangial cells with or without H2S donor, GYY4137 and FOXO1 inhibitor, AS1842856 in HHcy condition and determined the involvement of Akt/FOXO1 signalling cascades. Our results indicated that Hcy inactivated Akt and activated FOXO1 by dephosphorylating both the signalling molecules and induced FOXO1 nuclear translocation followed by activation of the FOXO1 transcription factor. These led to the induction of cellular apoptosis and synthesis of excessive ECM protein, in part, due to increased ROS production, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), reduction in intracellular ATP concentration, increased MMP-2, -9, -14 mRNA and protein expression, and Col I, IV and fibronectin protein expression. Interestingly, GYY4137 or AS1842856 treatment prevented these changes by modulating Akt/FOXO1 axis in HHcy. We conclude that GYY4137 and/or AS1842856 mitigates HHcy induced mesangial cell damage and ECM remodelling by regulating Akt/FOXO1 pathway.



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