Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 395482, 11 pages
Research Article

Caspase-10 Is the Key Initiator Caspase Involved in Tributyltin-Mediated Apoptosis in Human Immune Cells

Department Materials Meet Life, Empa Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Lerchenfeldstrasse 5, 9014 St. Gallen, Switzerland

Received 24 May 2011; Accepted 27 September 2011

Academic Editor: Elke Dopp

Copyright © 2012 Harald F. Krug. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tributyltin (TBT) is one of the most toxic compounds produced by man and distributed in the environment. A multitude of toxic activities have been described, for example, immunotoxic, neurotoxic, and endocrine disruptive effects. Moreover, it has been shown for many cell types that they undergo apoptosis after treatment with TBT and the cell death of immune cells could be the molecular background of its immunotoxic effect. As low as 200 nM up to 1 μM of TBT induces all signs of apoptosis in Jurkat T cells within 1 to 24 hrs of treatment. When compared to Fas-ligand control stimulation, the same sequence of events occurs: membrane blebbing, phosphatidylserine externalisation, the activation of the “death-inducing signalling complex,” and the following sequence of cleavage processes. In genetically modified caspase-8-deficient Jurkat cells, the apoptotic effects are only slightly reduced, whereas, in FADD-negative Jurkat cells, the TBT effect is significantly diminished. We could show that caspase-10 is recruited by the TRAIL-R2 receptor and apoptosis is totally prevented when caspase-10 is specifically inhibited in all three cell lines.