Advanced glycation end products induce apoptosis in fibroblasts through activation of ROS, MAP kinases, and the FOXO1 transcription factor

Mani Alikhani, Christine M. MacLellan, Markos Raptis, Siddarth Vora, Philip C. Trackman, Dana T. Graves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are elevated in aged and diabetic individuals and are associated with pathological changes associated with both. Previously we demonstrated that the AGE N-(carboxymethyl) lysine (CML)-collagen induced fibroblast apoptosis through the cytoplasmic and mitochondrial pathways and the global induction of proapoptotic genes. In the present study we investigated upstream mechanisms of CML-collagen-induced apoptosis. CML-collagen induced activation of the proapoptotic transcription factor FOXO1 compared with unmodified collagen. When FOXO1 was silenced, CML-collagen-stimulated apoptosis was reduced by ∼75% compared with fibroblasts incubated with nonsilencing small interfering RNA, demonstrating the functional significance of FOXO1 activation (P < 0.05). CML-collagen but not control collagen also induced a 3.3-fold increase in p38 and a 5.6-fold increase in JNK(1/2) activity (P < 0.05). With the use of specific inhibitors, activation of p38 and JNK was shown to play an important role in CML-collagen-induced activation of FOXO1 and caspase-3. Moreover, inhibition of p38 and JNK reduced CML-collagen-stimulated apoptosis by 48 and 57%, respectively, and by 89% when used together (P < 0.05). In contrast, inhibition of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway enhanced FOXO1 activation. p38 and JNK stimulation by CML-collagen was almost entirely blocked when formation of ROS was inhibited and was partially reduced by NO and ceramide inhibitors. These inhibitors also reduced apoptosis to a similar extent. Together these data support a model in which AGE-induced apoptosis involves the formation of ROS, NO, and ceramide and leads to p38 and JNK MAP kinase activation, which in turn induces FOXO1 and caspase-3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C850-C856
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Connective tissue
  • Diabetes
  • Mitogen-activated protein kinase
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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