Alcohol induces apoptosis in TM3 mouse Leydig cells via bax-dependent caspase-3 activation.
To investigate whether ethanol induces apoptosis in Leydig cells, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, terminal deoxynuclotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL) assay, 4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining, DNA fragmentation assay, caspase-3 enzyme assay, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blot analysis were performed on TM3 mouse Leydig cells. Through morphological and biochemical analyses, it was demonstrated that TM3 cells treated with ethanol at concentrations of 50 and 100 mM exhibit classical apoptotic features. In addition, it was shown that ethanol induces increases in levels of bax and caspase-3 and a decrease in bcl-2 expression. Based on the results, alcohol appears to activate specific intracellular death-related pathways leading to bax-dependant caspase-3 activation and the induction of apoptosis in Leydig cells.