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Rotenone, a selective inhibitor of mitochondrial complex I, has been extensively studied on kinds of neuron and neuroblast in Parkinson's disease. However, little is known about the potential mechanism of this promising botanical insecticide upon insect cells. In the article, cell proliferation of two Lepidoptera cell lines, Spodoptera litura SL-1 cells and Spodoptera frugiperda Sf9 cells, were all inhibited by rotenone in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Typical necrotic characteristics of cell morphology and ultrastructure, such as plasma membrane collapses and organelle lyses, were all observed by transmission electron microscope and scanning electron microscope. Moreover, irregular DNA degradation was also detected by DNA gel electrophoresis and Hoechst 33258 staining, while the typical apoptotic feature, DNA ladder, hadn't been observed. Flow cytometric analysis showed that rotenone-induced cell death of Sf9 and SL-1 cells accompanied with the plasma membrane potential depolarization and mitochondrial membrane potential reduction. Furthermore, the activity of Na+-K+-ATPase was detected in our study. In conclusion, rotenone could cause necrosis but not apoptosis in insect cells through a mitochondrial- and plasmic membrane-dependent pattern, which shed a light on the rotenone-induced cytotoxicity on insects. Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.


Zhipeng Sun, Li Xue, Yun Li, Gaofeng Cui, Ranran Sun, Meiying Hu, Guohua Zhong. Rotenone-induced necrosis in insect cells via the cytoplasmic membrane damage and mitochondrial dysfunction. Pesticide biochemistry and physiology. 2021 Mar;173:104801

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PMID: 33771250

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