Reactive oxygen species induce neuronal cell death. However, the detailed mechanisms of cell death have not yet been elucidated. Previously, we reported neurite degeneration before the induction of cell death. Here, we attempted to elucidate the mechanisms of neurite degeneration before the induction of cell death using the neuroblastoma N1E-115 cell line and a time-lapse live cell imaging system. Treatment with the calcium ionophore ionomycin induced cell death and neurite degeneration in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Treatment with a low concentration of ionomycin immediately produced a significant calcium influx into the intracellular region in N1E-115 cells. After 1-h incubation with ionomycin, the fluorescence emission of MitoSOXTM increased significantly compared to the control. Finally, analysis using a new mitochondrial specific fluorescence dye, MitoPeDPP, indicated that treatment with ionomycin significantly increased the mitochondrial lipid hydroperoxide production in N1E-115 cells. The fluorescence emissions of Fluo-4 AM and MitoPeDPP were detected in the cell soma and neurite regions in ionomycin-treated N1E-115 cells. However, the emissions of neurites were much lower than those of the cell soma. TBARS values of ionomycin-treated cells significantly increased compared to the control. These results indicate that ionomycin induces calcium influx into the intracellular region and reactive oxygen species production in N1E-115 cells. Lipid hydroperoxide production was induced in ionomycin-treated N1E-115 cells. Calcium influx into the intracellular region is a possible activator of neurite degeneration.
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