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Journal of Water and Health Vol 10 No 4 pp 522–530 © IWA Publishing 2012 doi:10.2166/wh.2012.180

Proapoptotic effect of a micropollutant (tris-(2-chloroethyl)-phosphate) at environmental level in primary cultured renal proximal tubule cells

Xianghao Ren, Ho Jae Han, Yu Jin Lee, Sang Hun Lee, How Yong Ng, Kyu-Jung Chae and In S. Kim

Key Laboratory of Urban Stormwater System and Water Environment, Ministry of Education, School of Environment and Energy Engineering, Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Beijing 100-044, China
Department of Veterinary Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute for Veterinary Science, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea
Center for Water Research, Division of Environmental Science & Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117576
R&D Institute, Kolon Engineering & Construction, Co. Ltd, Yongin, Gyeonggi 449-815, South Korea
Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), Gwangju 500-712, South Korea E-mail: iskim@gist.ac.kr


Being a typical micropollutant, tris-(2-chloroethyl)-phosphate (TCEP) is often found in aquatic environments. However, the potential effects of TCEP at environmental concentrations on apoptotic mechanisms are mostly unknown. Thus, the purpose of this study is to investigate the apoptotic regulatory protein expression of TCEP at environmental concentration in primary cultured renal proximal tubule cells (PTCs). The results show that TCEP at 0.01 and 1 mg L−1 significantly increased the phosphorylation of c-Jun-NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) (135.5 and 138.0% of the control, respectively), and significantly decreased the expression of Bcl-2 and cIAP-2 at all tested concentrations, except for a slight decrease of Bcl-2 at 0.01 mg L−1. In addition, TCEP significantly increased the expression of caspase-3 at all three concentrations (132.6, 172.6 and 167.9% of the control, respectively) and caspase-9 at 1 and 10 mg L−1 (128.3 and 144.5% of the control, respectively). Furthermore, TCEP increased the apoptotic cell population in a flow cytometry analysis. In conclusion, environmental TCEP might have a dose-dependent proapoptotic effect with a decrease of DNA synthesis and cell number in primary cultured renal PTCs.

Keywords: cell apoptotic regulatory protein; environmental concentration; fire retardant; micropollutant; primary cultured renal proximal tubule cells

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