Hydrogen peroxide-induced expression of the proto-oncogenes, c-jun, c-fos and c-myc in rabbit lens epithelial cells

David Wan Cheng Li, Abraham Spector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The involvement of H2O2 in cataract development has been established in both human patients and animal models. At the molecular level H2O2 has been observed to cause damage to DNA, protein and lipid. To explore the oxidative stress response of the lens system at the gene expression level, we have examined the effects of H2O2 on the mRNA change of the proto-oncogenes, c-jun, c-fos and c-myc in a rabbit lens cell line, N/N1003A. H2O2 treatment of the rabbit lens epithelial cells for 60 min induces quick up-regulation of both c-jun and c-fos mRNAs. The maximal induction is 38 fold for c-jun at 150 μM and 72 fold for c-fos at 250 μM H2O2. Treatment of N/N1003A cells with 50-250 μM H2O2 for 60 min leads to a 2-5 fold increase of the c-myc mRNA level. H2O2 also induces an up-regulation in transactivity of the activating protein-1 (AP-1) as shown with a reporter gene driven by a prolactin gene promoter with 4 copies of AP-1 binding sites inserted in the upstream of the promoter. Maximal induction occurs with 150 μM H2O2. In the same system, the antioxidants, N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) at concentrations shown to up-regulate the mRNAs of both c-jun and c-fos, also enhance the transactivity of AP-1. NAC and PDTC have different effects in modulating the induction of AP-1 activity by H2O2 and TPA. These results reveal that oxidative stress regulates expression of various regulatory genes in lens systems, which likely affects cell proliferation, differentiation and viability and thus affect normal lens functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biochemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene expression
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lens epithelial cells
  • N-acetylcysteine
  • Oxidative stress
  • Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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