Evidence that 4-hydroxynonenal mediates oxidative stress-induced neuronal apoptosis

Inna Kruman, Annadora J. Bruce-Keller, Dale Bredesen, Georg Waeg, Mark P. Mattson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

679 Scopus citations


Oxidative stress is believed to play important roles in neuronal cell death associated with many different neurodegenerative conditions (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and cerebral ischemia), and it is believed also that apoptosis is an important mode of cell death in these disorders. Membrane lipid peroxidation has been documented in the brain regions affected in these disorders as well as in cell culture and in vivo models. We now provide evidence that 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE), an aldehydic product of membrane lipid peroxidation, is a key mediator of neuronal apoptosis induced by oxidative stress. HNE induced apoptosis in PC12 cells and primary rat hippocampal neurons. Oxidative insults (FeSO4 and amyloid β-peptide) induced lipid peroxidation, cellular accumulation of HNE, and apoptosis. Bcl-2 prevented apoptosis of PC12 cells induced by oxidative stress and HNE. Antioxidants that suppress lipid peroxidation protected against apoptosis induced by oxidative insults, but not that induced by HNE. Glutathione, which binds HNE, protected neurons against apoptosis induced by oxidative stress and HNE. PC12 cells expressing Bcl-2 exhibited higher levels of glutathione and lower levels of HNE after oxidative stress. Collectively, the data identify that HNE is a novel nonprotein mediator of oxidative stress-induced neuronal apoptosis and suggest that the antiapoptotic action of glutathione may involve detoxification of HNE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5089-5100
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid β-peptide
  • Bcl-2
  • Glutathione
  • Hippocampal neurons
  • Iron
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Mitochondria
  • Programmed cell death
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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