Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), the most frequent mitochondrial disease, is associated with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) point mutations affecting Complex I subunits, usually homoplasmic. This blinding disorder is characterized by incomplete penetrance, possibly related to several genetic modifying factors. We recently reported that increased mitochondrial biogenesis in unaffected mutation carriers is a compensatory mechanism, which reduces penetrance. Also, environmental factors such as cigarette smoking have been implicated as disease triggers. To investigate this issue further, we first assessed the relationship between cigarette smoke and mtDNA copy number in blood cells from large cohorts of LHON families, finding that smoking was significantly associated with the lowest mtDNA content in affected individuals. To unwrap the mechanism of tobacco toxicity in LHON, we exposed fibroblasts from affected individuals, unaffected mutation carriers and controls to cigarette smoke condensate (CSC). CSC decreased mtDNA copy number in all cells; moreover, it caused significant reduction of ATP level only in mutated cells including carriers. This implies that the bioenergetic compensation in carriers is hampered by exposure to smoke derivatives. We also observed that in untreated cells the level of carbonylated proteins was highest in affected individuals, whereas the level of several detoxifying enzymes was highest in carriers. Thus, carriers are particularly successful in reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging capacity. After CSC exposure, the amount of detoxifying enzymes increased in all cells, but carbonylated proteins increased only in LHON mutant cells, mostly from affected individuals. All considered, it appears that exposure to smoke derivatives has a more deleterious effect in affected individuals, whereas carriers are the most efficient in mitigating ROS rather than recovering bioenergetics. Therefore, the identification of genetic modifiers that modulate LHON penetrance must take into account also the exposure to environmental triggers such as tobacco smoke.

Cigarette toxicity triggers Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy by affecting mtDNA copy number, oxidative phosphorylation and ROS detoxification pathways

GIORDANO, LUCA;DECEGLIE, STEFANIA;FRACASSO, FLAVIO;ROBERTI, Marina;CAPPELLARI, MARIANNA;LOGUERCIO POLOSA, Paola Anna Maria;CANTATORE, Palmiro
2015

Abstract

Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), the most frequent mitochondrial disease, is associated with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) point mutations affecting Complex I subunits, usually homoplasmic. This blinding disorder is characterized by incomplete penetrance, possibly related to several genetic modifying factors. We recently reported that increased mitochondrial biogenesis in unaffected mutation carriers is a compensatory mechanism, which reduces penetrance. Also, environmental factors such as cigarette smoking have been implicated as disease triggers. To investigate this issue further, we first assessed the relationship between cigarette smoke and mtDNA copy number in blood cells from large cohorts of LHON families, finding that smoking was significantly associated with the lowest mtDNA content in affected individuals. To unwrap the mechanism of tobacco toxicity in LHON, we exposed fibroblasts from affected individuals, unaffected mutation carriers and controls to cigarette smoke condensate (CSC). CSC decreased mtDNA copy number in all cells; moreover, it caused significant reduction of ATP level only in mutated cells including carriers. This implies that the bioenergetic compensation in carriers is hampered by exposure to smoke derivatives. We also observed that in untreated cells the level of carbonylated proteins was highest in affected individuals, whereas the level of several detoxifying enzymes was highest in carriers. Thus, carriers are particularly successful in reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging capacity. After CSC exposure, the amount of detoxifying enzymes increased in all cells, but carbonylated proteins increased only in LHON mutant cells, mostly from affected individuals. All considered, it appears that exposure to smoke derivatives has a more deleterious effect in affected individuals, whereas carriers are the most efficient in mitigating ROS rather than recovering bioenergetics. Therefore, the identification of genetic modifiers that modulate LHON penetrance must take into account also the exposure to environmental triggers such as tobacco smoke.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/159094
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