Partial ATP depletion induces Fas- and caspase-mediated apoptosis in MDCK cells

L. Richard Feldenberg, Sundararajah Thevananther, Marcela Del Rio, Maryely De Leon, Prasad Devarajan

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147 Scopus citations


Brief periods of in vitro hypoxia/ischemia induce apoptosis of cultured renal epithelial cells, but the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. We show that partial ATP depletion (≃10-65% of control) results in a duration- dependent induction of apoptosis in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, as evidenced by internucleosomal DNA cleavage (DNA laddering and in situ nick end labeling), morphological changes (cell shrinkage), and plasma membrane alterations (externalization of phosphatidylserine). The ATP-depleted cells display a significant upregulation of Fas, Fas ligand, and the Fas- associating protein with death domain (FADD). Exogenous application of stimulatory Fas monoclonal antibodies also induces apoptosis in nonischemic MDCK cells, indicating that they retain Fas-dependent pathways of programmed cell death. Furthermore, cleavage of poly(ADP)ribose polymerase (PARP) is evident after ATP depletion, indicating activation of caspases. Indeed, the apoptotic cells display a significant increase in caspase-8 (FLICE) activity. Finally, apoptosis induced by ATP depletion is ameliorated by pretreatment with inhibitors of caspase-8 (IETD), caspase-1 (YVAD), or caspase-3 (DEVD) but is not affected by inhibitors of serine proteases (TPCK). Our results indicate that partial ATP depletion of MDCK cells results in apoptosis and that Fas- and caspase-mediated pathways may play a critical role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F837-F846
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number6 45-6
StatePublished - Jun 1996


  • Annexin
  • Caspase inhibitor
  • Chemical anoxia
  • Madin-Darby canine kidney
  • Necrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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