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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Induction of similar features of apoptosis in human and bovine vascular endothelial cells treated by 7-ketocholesterol.

Cholesterol oxides have numerous cytotoxic effects and those oxidized in the C7 position have been shown to induce apoptosis in bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC). The aim of the present study was to determine whether apoptosis also occurs in human vascular endothelial cells (HUVEC) treated with 7-ketocholesterol. To this end, cultured BAEC and HUVEC were incubated for 48 h with 7-ketocholesterol (concentration range 5-80 micrograms/ml) and the characteristics of cell death were assessed by various methods: counting of adherent and non-adherent cells; analysis of DNA fragmentation pattern; and morphological study by light, fluorescence, and electron microscopy. The 7-ketocholesterol treatment was accompanied by a decrease in the number of adherent cells and an increase in the number of non-adherent cells. Apoptotic cells, recognized by fragmented and/or condensed nuclei after staining with Hoechst 33342 or Giemsa, were mainly detected among non-adherent cells, and agarose gel electrophoresis revealed a typical internucleosomal DNA fragmentation among 7-ketocholesterol-treated cells. The DNA fragmentation was no longer detected when HUVEC and BAEC were simultaneously incubated with 0.5 mmol/l zinc chloride, which is known to inhibit Ca2+/Mg(2+)-dependent endonucleases. Finally, the ultrastructural abnormalities observed by electron microscopy in both 7-ketocholesterol-treated HUVEC and BAEC were remarkably similar and were mainly characterized by condensed chromatin, altered mitochondria, disturbed organization of the cytoskeleton, and vacuoles containing myelin figures and/or cell debris; apoptotic bodies were also frequently detected. It is concluded that 7-ketocholesterol constitutes a potent inducer of apoptosis in endothelial vascular cells of both bovine and human origin, suggesting that cholesterol oxides may be involved in the early steps of the atherosclerotic process in humans.[1]


  1. Induction of similar features of apoptosis in human and bovine vascular endothelial cells treated by 7-ketocholesterol. Lizard, G., Moisant, M., Cordelet, C., Monier, S., Gambert, P., Lagrost, L. J. Pathol. (1997) [Pubmed]
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