It has been suggested that excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress play an important role in ethanol-induced damage to both the developing and mature central nervous system (CNS). The mechanisms underlying ethanol-induced neuronal ROS, however, remain unclear.
In this study, we investigated the role of NADPH oxidase (NOX) in ethanol-induced ROS generation.
We demonstrated that ethanol activated NOX and inhibition of NOX reduced ethanol-promoted ROS generation. Ethanol significantly increased the expression of p47phox and p67phox, the essential subunits for NOX activation in cultured neuronal cells and the cerebral cortex of infant mice. Ethanol caused serine phosphorylation and membrane translocation of p47phox and p67phox, which were prerequisites for NOX assembly and activation.
Knocking down p47phox with the small interfering RNA was sufficient to attenuate ethanol-induced ROS production and ameliorate ethanol-mediated oxidative damage, which is indicated by a decrease in protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation.
Ethanol activated cell division cycle 42 (Cdc42) and overexpression of a dominant negative (DN) Cdc42 abrogate ethanol-induced NOX activation and ROS generation.
These results suggest that Cdc42-dependent NOX activation mediates ethanol-induced oxidative damages to neurons.
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