Apoptosis; ; oxidative stress; antioxidant enzymes; lipid peroxidation
Aerobic organisms experience oxidative stress due to generation of reactive oxygen species during normal aerobic metabolism. In addition, several chemicals also generate reactive oxygen species which induce oxidative stress. Thus oxidative stress constitutes a major threat to organisms living in aerobic environments. Programmed cell death or apoptosis is a physiological mechanism of cell death, that probably evolved with multicellularity, and is indispensable for normal growth and development.Dictyostelium discoideum, an eukaryotic developmental model, shows both unicellular and multicellular forms in its life cycle and exhibits apparent caspase-independent programmed cell death, and also shows high resistance to oxidative stress. An attempt has been made to investigate the biochemical basis for high resistance ofD. discoideum cell death induced by different oxidants. Dose-dependent induction of cell death by exogenous addition of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2),in situ generation of H2O2 by hydroxylamine, and nitric oxide (NO) generation by sodium nitroprusside treatment inD. discoideum were studied. The AD50 doses (concentration of the oxidants cusing 50% of the cells to die) after 24 h of treatment were found to be 0.45 mM, 4 mM and 1 mM, respectively. Studies on enzymatic antioxidant status ofD. discoideum when subjected to oxidative stress, NO and nutrient stress reveal that superoxide dismutase and catalase were unchanged; a significant induction of glutathione peroxidase was observed. Interestingly, oxidative stress-induced lipid membrane peroxidative damage could not be detected. The results shed light on the biochemical basis for the observed high resistance to oxidative stress inD. discoideum.