Oxidative mechanisms of injury are important in many neurological disorders. Developing oligodendrocytes (pre-OLs) are particularly sensitive to oxidative stress-mediated injury. We previously demonstrated a novel function of phylloquinone (vitamin K(1)) and menaquinone 4 (MK-4; a major form of vitamin K2) in protecting pre-OLs and immature neurons against glutathione depletion-induced oxidative damage (Li et al. [ 2003] J. Neurosci. 23:5816-5826). Here we report that vitamin K at nanomolar concentrations prevents arachidonic acid-induced oxidative injury to pre-OLs through blocking the activation of 12-lipoxygenase (12-LOX). Arachidonic acid metabolism is a potential source for reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation during ischemia and reperfusion. Exposure of pre-OLs to arachidonic acid resulted in oxidative cell death in a concentration-dependent manner. Administration of vitamin K (K(1) and MK-4) completely prevented the toxicity. Consistent with our previous findings, inhibitors of 12-LOX abolished ROS production and cell death, indicating that activation of 12-LOX is a key event in arachidonic acid-induced pre-OL death. Vitamin K(1) and MK-4 significantly blocked 12-LOX activation and prevented ROS accumulation in pre-OLs challenged with arachidonic acid. However, vitamin K itself did not directly inhibit 12-LOX enzymatic activity when assayed with purified 12-LOX in vitro. These results suggest that vitamin K, or likely its metabolites, acts upstream of activation of 12-LOX in pre-OLs. In summary, our data indicate that vitamin K prevents oxidative cell death by blocking activation of 12-LOX and ROS generation.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.