The 26S proteasome is responsible for degradation of abnormal proteins and may play a role in cell survival upon oxidative stress. The indirect antioxidant sulforaphane (SFN) protects animal tissues from chemical toxicants by increasing the expression of several families of Nrf2-regulated genes. The role of induction of the 26S proteasome in cytoprotection by SFN was investigated in murine neuroblastoma Neuro2A cells. SFN enhanced the expression of the catalytic subunits of the proteasome, as well as proteasomal peptidase activities in these cells. Such treatment with SFN protected cells from hydrogen peroxide-mediated cytotoxicity in a manner dependent on proteasomal function. Inhibition of proteasome activities using pharmacological interventions significantly attenuated the protective effects of SFN against hydrogen peroxide cytotoxicity, as well as protein oxidation. Moreover, overexpression of the catalytic subunit PSMB5 enhanced proteasome function and led to elevated resistance against hydrogen peroxide toxicity and extent of protein oxidation compared to blank plasmid transfected cells. Pretreatment of PSMB5 overexpressing cells with SFN did not further enhance this resistance. Collectively, these results suggest that the cytoprotective effects of SFN against oxidative stress are in part due to up-regulation of the proteasome system. Therefore, inducers of proteasome expression may ameliorate the accumulation of damaged proteins associated with neurodegeneration and other diseases in which protein oxidation contributes to their etiologies.

99th AACR Annual Meeting-- Apr 12-16, 2008; San Diego, CA