Background: Necrosis of alveolar macrophages following Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection has been demonstrated to play a vital role in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis. Our previous study demonstrated that Wnt/β-catenin signaling was able to promote mycobacteria-infected cell apoptosis by a caspase-dependent pathway. However, the functionality of this signaling in the necrosis of macrophage following mycobacterial infection remains largely unknown.
Methods: Murine macrophage RAW264.7 cells were infected with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) in the presence of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. The necrotic cell death was determined by cytometric assay and electronic microscopy; the productions of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reduced glutathione (GSH) were measured by a cytometric analysis and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively; and the activity of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1)/apoptosis inhibition factor (AIF) signaling was examined by an immunoblotting assay.
Results: The BCG can induce RAW264.7 macrophage cells necrosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner along with an accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Intriguingly, an enhancement of Wnt/β-catenin signaling shows an ability to reduce the mycobacteria-induced macrophage necrosis. Mechanistically, the activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling is capable of inhibiting the necrotic cell death in BCG-infected RAW264.7 cells through a mechanism by which the Wnt signaling scavenges intracellular ROS accumulation and increases cellular GSH concentration. In addition, immunoblotting analysis further reveals that Wnt/β-catenin signaling is capable of inhibiting the ROS-mediated cell necrosis in part through a PARP-1/AIF- dependent pathway.
Conclusions: An activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling can inhibit BCG-induced macrophage necrosis by increasing the production of GSH and scavenging ROS in part through a mechanism of repression of PARP-1/AIF signaling pathway. This finding may thus provide an insight into the underlying mechanism of alveolar macrophage cell death in response to mycobacterial infection.