Effects of brief cutaneous JP-8 jet fuel exposures on time course of gene expression in the epidermis.
JP-8 induces apoptosis in rat lung epithelial cells, primary mouse T lymphocytes, Jurkat T lymphoma cells, and U937 monocytic cells (Stoica et al., 2001). Here, we have observed a different mechanism of cytotoxicity in human keratinocytes grown in culture as well as when grafted onto nude mice. At lower levels of JP-8 (80 microg/ml; 1 x 10(-4) dilution), sufficient to induce apoptosis in other cell types, including lung epithelial cells (Stoica et al., 2001), no apoptosis was observed. At higher levels (>200 microg/ml; 2.5 x 10(-4) dilution), JP-8 is cytotoxic to both primary and immortalized human keratinocytes, as evidenced by the metabolism of calcein, as well as by morphological changes such as cell rounding and cell detachment. There was no evidence of activation of caspases-3, -7, or -8 either by enzyme activity or immunoblot analysis, and the stable expression of a dominant-negative inhibitor of apoptosis (FADD-DN) did not increase the survival of keratinocytes to JP-8. The pattern of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage was also characteristic of necrosis. PARP has been also been implicated in necrosis via its ability to lower levels of ATP in damaged cells. However, fibroblasts derived from PARP-/- mice underwent necrotic cell death similar to those derived from PARP+/+ mice, indicating that the effects of JP-8 are independent of PARP. Immunoblot analysis further revealed that exposure of keratinocytes to the toxic higher levels of JP-8 markedly downregulates the expression of the prosurvival members of the Bcl-2 family, Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L), and upregulates the expression of antisurvival members of this family, including Bad and Bak. Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L) have been shown to preserve mitochondrial integrity and suppress cell death. In contrast, Bak and Bad both promote cell death by alteration of the mitochondrial membrane potential, in part by heterodimerization with and inactivation of Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L), and either inducing necrosis or activating a downstream caspase program. High intrinsic levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-x(L) may prevent apoptotic death of keratinocytes at lower levels of JP-8, while perturbation of the balance between pro- and antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members at higher levels may ultimately play a role in necrotic cell death in human keratinocytes. Finally, when human keratinocytes were grafted to form a human epidermis on nude mice, treatment of these grafts with JP-8 revealed cytotoxicity and altered histology in vivo.