• H2O2;
  • ROS dynamics;
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction;
  • Cyt c


Exogenous oxidative stress induces cell death, but the upstream molecular mechanisms involved of the process remain relatively unknown. We determined the instant dynamic reactions of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS, including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), superoxide radical (O2), and nitric oxide (NO)) in cells exposed to exogenous oxidative stress by using a confocal laser scanning microscope. Stimulation with extracellular H2O2 significantly increased the production of intracellular H2O2, O2, and NO (P < 0.01) through certain mechanisms. Increased levels of intracellular ROS resulted in mitochondrial dysfunction, involving the impairment of mitochondrial activity and the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential. Mitochondrial dysfunction significantly inhibited the proliferation of human hepatoblastoma G2 (HepG2) cells and resulted in mitochondrial cytochrome c (cyt c) release. The results indicate that upstream ROS signals play a potential role in exogenous oxidative stress-induced cell death through mitochondrial dysfunction and cyt c release.