Formation of the reactive amodiaquine quinoneimine (AQ-QI) and N-desethylamodiaquine quinoneimine (DEAQ-QI) plays an important role in the toxicity of the anti-malaria drug amodiaquine (AQ). Glutathione conjugation protects against AQ-induced toxicity and GSTP1 is able to conjugate its quinoneimine metabolites AQ-QI and DEA-QI with glutathione. In this study, HepG2 cells transiently transfected with the human GSTP1 construct were utilized to investigate the protective effect of GSTP1 in a cellular context. HepG2 cells were exposed to synthesized QIs, which bypasses the need for intracellular bioactivation of AQ or DEAQ. Exposure was accompanied by decreased cell viability, increased caspase 3 activity, and decreased intracellular GSH levels. Using high-content imaging-based BAC-GFP reporters, it was shown that AQ-QI and DEAQ-QI specifically activated the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response. In contrast, oxidative stress, DNA damage, or inflammatory stress responses were not activated. Overexpression of GSTP1 resulted in a two-fold increase in GSH-conjugation of the QIs, attenuated QI-induced cytotoxicity especially under GSH-depletion condition, abolished QIs-induced apoptosis but did not significantly inhibit the activation of the ER stress response. In conclusion, these results indicate a protective role of GSTP1 by increasing enzymatic detoxification of AQ-QI and DEAQ-QI and suggest a second protective mechanism by interfering with ER stress induced apoptosis.
- Endoplasmic reticulum stress
- Human glutathione S-transferases P1