We have recently demonstrated the direct involvement of the death receptor-mediated apoptotic pathways in cisplatin-induced renal tubular cell (RTC) death. Reactive oxygen species are thought to be a major cause of cellular damage in such injury. The aim of this study was to examine the mechanism through which antioxidants ameliorate cisplatin-induced RTC death, with special emphasis on death receptor-mediated apoptotic pathways. Cisplatin was added to cultures of normal rat kidney (NRK52E) cells or injected in rats. NRK52E cells and rats were also treated with dimethylthiourea (DMTU), a hydroxyl radical scavenger. We then examined the mRNA levels of death ligands and receptors, caspase-8 activity, cell viability, cell death, renal function, and histological alterations. RT-PCR indicated cisplatin-induced upregulation of Fas, Fas ligand, and TNF-α mRNAs and complete inhibition by DMTU in vitro and in vivo. Cisplatin increased caspase-8 activity of NRK52E cells, and DMTU prevented such activation. Exposure to cisplatin reduced viability of NRK52E cells, examined by WST-1 assay, and increased apoptosis and necrosis of the cells, examined by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling assay and fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis. DMTU abrogated cisplatin-induced changes in cell viability and apoptosis and/or necrosis. Cisplatin-induced renal dysfunction and histological damage were also prevented by DMTU. DMTU did not hinder cisplatin incorporation into RTCs. Our results suggest that antioxidants can ameliorate cisplatin-induced acute renal failure through inactivation of the death receptor-mediated apoptotic pathways.
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