Acetylcholine inhibits long-term hypoxia-induced apoptosis by suppressing the oxidative stress-mediated MAPKs activation as well as regulation of Bcl-2, c-IAPs, and caspase-3 in mouse embryonic stem cells.Apoptosis. 2008 Feb; 13(2):295-304.A
This study examined the effect of acetylcholine (ACh) on the hypoxia-induced apoptosis of mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. Hypoxia (60 h) decreased both the cell viability and level of [3H] thymidine incorporation, which were prevented by a pretreatment with ACh. However, the atropine (ACh receptor [AChR] inhibitor) treatment blocked the protective effect of ACh. Hypoxia (90 min) increased the intracellular level of reactive oxygen species (ROS). On the other hand, ACh inhibited the hypoxia-induced increase in ROS, which was blocked by an atropine treatment. Subsequently, the hypoxia-induced ROS increased the level of p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation, which were inhibited by the ACh pretreatment. Moreover, hypoxic exposure (90 min) increased the level of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B) phosphorylation, which was blocked by a pretreatment with SB 203580 (p38 MAPK inhibitor) or SP 600125 (JNK inhibitor). However, hypoxia (60 h) decreased the protein levels of Bcl-2 and c-IAPs (cellular inhibitor of apoptosis proteins) but increased the level of caspase-3 activation. All these effects were inhibited by a pretreatment with ACh. In conclusion, ACh prevented the hypoxia-induced apoptosis of mouse ES cells by inhibiting the ROS-mediated p38 MAPK and JNK activation as well as the regulation of Bcl-2, c-IAPs, and caspase-3.