Sodium fluoride induces apoptosis (programmed cell death)

Li P, Xue Y, Zhang W, Teng F, Sun Y, Qu T, Chen X, Cheng X, Song B, Luo W, Yu Q. Sodium fluoride induces apoptosis in odontoblasts via a JNK-dependent mechanism. Toxicology. 2013 Apr 8. pii: S0300-483X(13)00078-4. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2013.03.016.

Sodium fluoride (NaF) is widely used for the treatment of dental caries and dentin hypersensitivity. However, its pro-apoptotic effect on odontoblasts may lead to harmful side-effects. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the pro-apoptotic effects of NaF in odontoblasts and elucidate the possible underlying molecular mechanisms. NaF generated cytotoxic effects in odontoblast-lineage cell (OLC) in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Exposure of cells to 4mM NaF for 24 hr induced caspase-3 activation, ultrastructural alterations, and resulted in the translocation of Bax to the mitochondria and the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondrial inter-membrane space into the cytosol, indicating that fluoride-mediated apoptosis is mitochondria-dependent. Fluoride treatment also increased phosphorylation of JNK and ERK, but not p38, and apoptosis induced by fluoride was notably or partly suppressed by treatment with JNK or ERK inhibitors, respectively. Taken together, these findings suggest that NaF induces apoptosis in OLC odontoblasts through a JNK-dependent mitochondrial pathway.

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