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    Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) has been known to cause alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) apoptosis and barrier breakdown that characterize acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome. We aimed to investigate whether mitoquinone (MitoQ), a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant, could alleviate LPS-induced AEC damage in ALI and its underlying mechanisms. In vitro studies in AEC A549 cell line, we noted that LPS could induce dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1)-mediated mitochondrial fission, AEC apoptosis and barrier breakdown, which could be reversed with MitoQ and mitochondrial division inhibitor 1 treatment. Moreover, the protective role of MitoQ was attenuated with Drp1 overexpression. Nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) downregulation could block the effect of MitoQ by decreasing the expression of Nrf2 target genes in LPS-treated AEC, such as heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1). Nrf2 gene knockdown in LPS-treated A549 cells prevented the protective effect of MitoQ from decreasing Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission, AEC apoptosis and barrier breakdown. The lung protective effect of MitoQ by regulating the Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission, AEC apoptosis and barrier breakdown was further confirmed in vivo with LPS-induced ALI mouse model. Additionally, the protective effect of MitoQ was inhibited by Nrf2 inhibitor ML385. We therefore conclude that MitoQ exerts ALI-protective effects by preventing Nrf2/Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission, AEC apoptosis as well as barrier breakdown. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Lei Hou, Jinyuan Zhang, Yajing Liu, Hongwei Fang, Lijun Liao, Zhankui Wang, Jie Yuan, Xuebin Wang, Jixiong Sun, Bing Tang, Hongfei Chen, Pengcheng Ye, Zhenmin Ding, Huihong Lu, Yinglin Wang, Xiangrui Wang. MitoQ alleviates LPS-mediated acute lung injury through regulating Nrf2/Drp1 pathway. Free radical biology & medicine. 2021 Mar;165:219-228

    PMID: 33539948

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