2010 Volume 35 Issue 3 Pages 419-423
Our previous study indicated that Nrf2 is a key transcription factor in cellular defenses against inorganic arsenite (iAsIII). However, the role of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), which is regulated by Nrf2, in iAsIII-induced cytotoxicity is poorly understood. To address this issue, we examined the contribution of HO-1 to iAsIII-mediated Nrf2 activation and in protection against iAsIII cytotoxicity in HepG2 cells. Exposure of HepG2 cells to iAsIII (10 µM) caused persistent induction of HO-1 accompanied by prolonged Nrf2 activation, whereas siRNA-mediated knockdown of HO-1 decreased prolonged Nrf2 activation. Pretreatment with either HO-1 siRNA or HO inhibitor (tin protoporphyrin IX) significantly enhanced iAsIII-induced cytotoxicity. These results suggest that iAsIII-induced HO-1 appears, at least in part, to act as a positive feedback regulator of Nrf2 activation, thereby diminishing its cytotoxicity in HepG2 cells.