An extensive body of research has demonstrated that pulmonary toxicity induced by fluoride is related to cell apoptosis. Although induction of death receptor-initiated extrinsic apoptosis by sodium fluoride (NaF) has been reported, its mechanism of action is still not clearly defined. Herein, we found that NaF treatment induced activation of caspase-8 in BEAS-2B cells, resulting in apoptosis, which was markedly reduced by blocking caspase-8 using small interfering RNA (siRNA). In this study, we report that death receptor 5 (DR5), a major component of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway, is markedly induced upon NaF stimulation. Enhanced DR5 induction was necessary for the apoptotic effects of NaF, inasmuch as transfected BEAS-2B cells with DR5 siRNA attenuated NaF-induced caspase-8 activation in lung cells. Mechanism investigation indicated that the induction of DR5, following NaF exposure, was mediated by tumor protein 53 (p53)-dependent transcriptional activation. Notably, we demonstrated that NaF could induce a significant increase in intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level derived from nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase 4 (NOX4). Specifically, NOX4 knockdown inhibited NaF-induced the activation of p53/DR5 axis by reducing NOX4-derived ROS production. Further in vivo investigation demonstrated that NOX4 deficiency markedly attenuates NaF-induced lung injury, apoptosis, and ROS levels in the lung. Moreover, the expressions of p53 and DR5 were significantly reduced after NaF treatment in NOX4 knockout mice compared with the wild type mice. Taken together, our findings provide a novel insight into for the pulmonary apoptosis in response to NaF exposure.
*Original abstract online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33857626/