European Journal of Biochemistry vol:202 issue:1 pages:151-9
Normal mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEF) are killed by treatment with low doses of interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) in combination with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). This cytotoxicity has previously been shown to represent an active suicidal reaction. Here we show that the time period between first contact with IFN-gamma/LPS (t = 0 h) and cell death (t = 48 h) can be separated into two distinct periods, during which glycolytic metabolism of glucose either has a positive (8-24 h) or a negative (30-48 h) effect on cytotoxicity. During the first period (8-24 h), withdrawal of glucose from the culture medium, or inclusion in the medium of the glycolytic inhibitors deoxy-D-glucose, NaF or iodoacetate, prevented later cell death. During the second period (30-48 h), withdrawal of glucose or supplementation of the culture medium with glycolytic inhibitors was no longer protective; instead it was a requirement for cell suicide to occur. Glycolytic activity during the first period was found to be increased twofold in LPS-treated MEF and almost threefold in IFN-gamma/LPS-treated MEF. A variety of agents were found both to protect cells against IFN-gamma/LPS-induced cytotoxicity and to inhibit increased glycolysis in these cells: glucocorticoids, the serine-type protease inhibitor N-acetyl-DL-phenylalanine-beta-naphthyl ester, the ADP-ribosylation inhibitors 3-aminobenzamide and nicotinamide, and the transcription and translation inhibitors actinomycin and cycloheximide. Mitochondrial function, although normal in LPS-treated cells, was markedly depressed in IFN-gamma/LPS-treated MEF. Specifically, malate- and succinate-driven respiration was found to be impaired. Furthermore, IFN-gamma/LPS-treated MEF contained one-third of the ATP level of LPS-treated MEF. Withdrawal of L-arginine from the culture medium prevented cell death in IFN-gamma/LPS-treated MEF. N-Methyl-L-arginine, which is an inhibitor of nitric oxide (NO.) biosynthesis from L-arginine, also inhibited cell death. In conclusion, we propose that cell death in our experiments is due to an L-arginine/glycolysis-dependent impairment of mitochondrial respiration.