Importance of bicarbonate transport for ischaemia-induced apoptosis of coronary endothelial cells

Sanjeev Kumar, University of Giessen, Germany
Sascha Kasseckert, University of Giessen, Germany
Sawa Kostin, Max-Planck-Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim, German
Yaser Abdallah, Aga Khan University
Hans Michael Piper, Institute of Physiology, University of Giessen, Germany
Gustav Steinhoff, Department of Cardiac Surgery, University of Rostock, Germany
H. Peter Reusch, Abteilung für Klinische Pharmakologie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany
Yury Ladilov, Abteilung für Klinische Pharmakologie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


Bicarbonate transport (BT) has been previously shown to participate in apoptosis induced by various stress factors. However, the precise role of BT in ischaemia-induced apoptosis is still unknown. To investigate this subject, rat coronary endothelial cells (EC) were exposed to simulated ischaemia (glucose free anoxia at Ph 6.4) for 2 hrs and cells undergoing apoptosis were visualized by nuclear staining or by determination of cas-pase- 3 activity. To inhibit BT, EC were either treated with the inhibitor of BT 4,4′-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2′-disulfonic acid (DIDS, 300 μmol/l) or exposed to ischaemia in bicarbonate free, 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-I-piperazi-neethanesulphonic acid (HEPES)-buffered medium. Simulated ischaemia in bicarbonate-buffered medium (Bic) increased caspase-3 activity and the number of apoptotic cell (23.7 + 1.4%versus 5.1 + 1.2% in control). Omission of bicarbonate during ischaemia further significantly increased caspase-3 activity and the number of apoptotic cells (36.7 1.7%). Similar proapoptotic effect was produced by DIDS treatment during ischaemia in Bic, whereas DIDS had no effect when applied in bicarbonate-free, HEPES-buffered medium (Hep). Inhibition of BT was without influence on cytosolic acidification during ischaemia and slightly reduced cytosolic Ca2+ accumulation. Initial characterization of the underlying mechanism leading to apoptosis induced by BT inhibition revealed activation of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis, i.e., increase of cytochrome C release, depolarization of mitochondria and translocation of Bax protein to mitochondria. In contrast, no activation of death receptor-dependent pathway (caspase-8 cleavage) and endoplasmic reticulum- dependent pathway (caspase-12 cleavage) was detected. In conclusion, BT plays an important role in ischaemia-induced apoptosis of coronary EC by suppression of mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway.