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4-Nonylphenol induces apoptosis, autophagy and necrosis in Sertoli cells: Involvement of ROS-mediated AMPK/AKT-mTOR and JNK pathways

Duan, Peng, Hu, Chunhui, Quan, Chao, Yu, Tingting, Zhou, Wei, Yuan, Meng, Shi, Yuqin, Yang, Kedi
Toxicology 2016 v.341-343 pp. 28-40
Sertoli cells, acetylcysteine, apoptosis, autophagy, cell viability, death, male fertility, males, mitogen-activated protein kinase, necrosis, rats, signal transduction, spermatogenesis
The xenoestrogen 4-nonylphenol (NP) induces reproductive dysfunction of male rats, but the fundamental mechanism of this phenomenon is largely unexplored. Sertoli cells (SCs) are pivotal for spermatogenesis and male fertility. The involvement of autophagy in NP-induced apoptotic and necrotic death of SCs was investigated. In this study, 24-h exposure of SCs to 20–30μM NP decreased cell viability, caused G2/M arrest, triggered ΔΨm loss, increased ROS production and induced caspase-dependent apoptsis, necrosis as well as autophagosome formation. NP-induced autophagy was confirmed by monodansylcadaverine-staining and LC3-I/LC3-II conversion. Furthermore, NP up-regulated the Thr172p-AMPK/AMPK and Thr183/185p-JNK/JNK ratios. This was followed by the down-regulation of Ser473p-Akt/Akt, Thr1462p-TSC2/TSC2, Ser2448p-mTOR/mTOR, Thr389p-p70S6K/p70S6K and Thr37/45p-4EBP1/4EBP1. Intriguingly, NP-induced apoptosis, autophagy and necrosis could be inhibited through blocking ROS generation by N-acetylcysteine. Autophagy inhibitor 3-MA enhanced NP-induced apoptosis and necrosis. Moreover, The activation of AMPK/mTOR/p70s6k/4EBP1 and JNK signalling pathways induced by NP could be efficiently reversed by pretreatment of N-acetylcysteine or 3-MA. Collectively, our findings provide the first evidence that NP promotes apoptosis, autophagy and necrosis simultaneously in SCs and that this process may involve ROS-dependent JNK- and Akt/AMPK/mTOR pathways. Modulation of autophagy induced by NP may serve as a survival mechanism against apoptosis and necrosis.