Iron overload triggers redox-sensitive signals in human IMR-32 neuroblastoma cells

Gabriela A. Salvador, Patricia I. Oteiza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Excessive neuronal iron has been proposed to contribute to the pathology of several neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. This work characterized human neuroblastoma IMR-32 cells exposure to ferric ammonium citrate (FAC) as a model of neuronal iron overload and neurodegeneration. The consequences of FAC treatment on neuronal oxidative stress and on the modulation of the oxidant-sensitive transcription factors AP-1 and NF-κB were investigated. Incubation with FAC (150 μM) resulted in a time (3-72. h)-dependent increase in cellular iron content, and was associated with cell oxidant increase. FAC caused a time-dependent (3-48. h) increase in nuclear AP-1- and NF-κB-DNA binding. This was associated with the upstream activation of the mitogen activated kinases ERK1/2, p38 and JNK and of IκBα phosphorylation and degradation. After 72. h incubation with FAC, cell viability was 40% lower than in controls. Iron overload caused apoptotic cell death. After 48-72. h of incubation with FAC, caspase 3 activity was increased, and chromatin condensation and nuclear fragmentation were observed. In summary, the exposure of IMR-32 cells to FAC is associated with increased oxidant cell levels, activation of redox-sensitive signals, and apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • AP-1
  • Iron
  • Neurotoxicity
  • NF-κB
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology

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