In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (75)

Articles by Anumantha G. Kanthasamy in JoVE

Other articles by Anumantha G. Kanthasamy on PubMed

Antimyoclonic and Neuroprotective Effects of Lamotrigine in an Animal Model of Cardiac Arrest

Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience. 1999  |  Pubmed ID: 12671243

A major consequence of severe cardiac arrest is impairment of neurological functions. Posthypoxic myoclonus and seizures are two of the major neurological problems following ischemic and hypoxic insults. This condition affects motor function to different degrees of severity ranging from mild to serious debilitation. The pathophysiological mechanism(s) associated with these neurological conditions remain elusive. Glutamate-mediated neuronal overexcitation is thought to play a major role in the neuronal damage and in the neurological consequences of the posthypoxic state. Therefore, lamotrigine, a new anticonvulsant that indirectly modulates glutamatergic neurotransmission by interfering with voltage-dependent sodium channels, was tested for its effectiveness in controlling the neurological and histopathological changes in the animal model of cardiac arrest-induced myoclonus. Lamotrigine dose-dependently attenuated the audiogenic seizures and action myoclonus seen in this rat model. Histological analysis using Nissl staining and the novel Fluoro-Jade histochemistry in cardiac-arrested rats showed an extensive neuronal degeneration in the hippocampus and cerebellum. Lamotrigine treatment significantly attenuated the neuronal degeneration in these brain areas. The neuroprotective effect was more pronounced in hippocampal pyramidal and cerebellar Purkinje neurons. The therapeutic window of lamotrigine in this model was 8 hours. These results suggest that lamotrigine can be viewed as a potential antimyoclonic and neuroprotective agent for the treatment of posthypoxic myoclonus and seizures. The study also suggests that neuronal hyperexcitability may play a role in the etiology of posthypoxic myoclonus and seizure.

Caspase-3-dependent Proteolytic Cleavage of Protein Kinase Cdelta is Essential for Oxidative Stress-mediated Dopaminergic Cell Death After Exposure to Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Mar, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11880503

In the present study, we characterized oxidative stress-dependent cellular events in dopaminergic cells after exposure to an organic form of manganese compound, methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT). In pheochromocytoma cells, MMT exposure resulted in rapid increase in generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within 5--15 min, followed by release of mitochondrial cytochrome C into cytoplasm and subsequent activation of cysteine proteases, caspase-9 (twofold to threefold) and caspase-3 (15- to 25-fold), but not caspase-8, in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Interestingly, we also found that MMT exposure induces a time- and dose-dependent proteolytic cleavage of native protein kinase Cdelta (PKCdelta, 72-74 kDa) to yield 41 kDa catalytically active and 38 kDa regulatory fragments. Pretreatment with caspase inhibitors (Z-DEVD-FMK or Z-VAD-FMK) blocked MMT-induced proteolytic cleavage of PKCdelta, indicating that cleavage is mediated by caspase-3. Furthermore, inhibition of PKCdelta activity with a specific inhibitor, rottlerin, significantly inhibited caspase-3 activation in a dose-dependent manner along with a reduction in PKCdelta cleavage products, indicating a possible positive feedback activation of caspase-3 activity by PKCdelta. The presence of such a positive feedback loop was also confirmed by delivering the catalytically active PKCdelta fragment. Attenuation of ROS generation, caspase-3 activation, and PKCdelta activity before MMT treatment almost completely suppressed DNA fragmentation. Additionally, overexpression of catalytically inactive PKCdelta(K376R) (dominant-negative mutant) prevented MMT-induced apoptosis in immortalized mesencephalic dopaminergic cells. For the first time, these data demonstrate that caspase-3-dependent proteolytic activation of PKCdelta plays a key role in oxidative stress-mediated apoptosis in dopaminergic cells after exposure to an environmental neurotoxic agent.

Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial-mediated Apoptosis in Dopaminergic Cells Exposed to Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl

The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Jul, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12065696

Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT), an organic manganese-containing gasoline additive, was investigated to determine whether MMT potentially causes dopaminergic neurotoxic effects. MMT is acutely cytotoxic and dopamine-producing cells (PC-12) seemed to be more susceptible to cytotoxic effects than nondopaminergic cells (striatal gamma-aminobutyric acidergic and cerebellar granule cells). MMT also potently depleted dopamine apparently by cytoplasmic vesicular release to the cytosol, a neurochemical change resembling other dopaminergic neurotoxicants. Generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), an early effect in toxicant-induced apoptosis, occurred within 15 min of MMT exposure. MMT caused a loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (DeltaPsim), a likely source of ROS generation. The ROS signal further activated caspase-3, an important effector caspase, which could be inhibited by antioxidants (Trolox or N-acetyl cysteine). Predepletion of dopamine by using alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine (tyrosine hydroxylase inhibitor) treatment partially prevented caspase-3 activation, denoting a significant dopamine and/or dopamine by-product contribution to initiation of apoptosis. Genomic DNA fragmentation, a terminal hallmark of apoptosis, was induced concentration dependently by MMT but completely prevented by pretreatment with Trolox, deprenyl (monoamine oxidase-B inhibitor), and alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine. A final set of critical experiments was performed to verify the pharmacological studies using a stable Bcl-2-overexpressing PC-12 cell line. Bcl-2-overexpressing cells were significantly refractory to MMT-induced ROS generation, caspase-3 activation, and loss of DeltaPsim and were completely resistant to MMT-induced DNA fragmentation. Taken together, the results presented herein demonstrate that oxidative stress plays an important role in mitochondrial-mediated apoptotic cell death in cultured dopamine-producing cells after exposure to MMT.

5-hydroxytryptamine 1A Receptor Activation Protects Against N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced Apoptotic Cell Death in Striatal and Mesencephalic Cultures

The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Mar, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12604665

Apoptosis and glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity may play a role in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD). In the present study, we investigated whether stimulation of the 5-hydroxytryptamine 1A (5-HT1A) receptor attenuates N-methyl-D-aspartate- (NMDA) and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+))-induced apoptotic cell death in cell culture models. A brief exposure (20 min) of M213-2O striatal cells to NMDA and glutamate produced a delayed increase in caspase-3 activity and DNA fragmentation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. NMDA-induced caspase-3 activity and DNA fragmentation were almost completely blocked by the 5-HT1A agonists 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)-tetralin (8-OH-DPAT) and (R)-5-fluoro-8 hydroxy-2-(dipropylamino)-tetralin (R-UH-301). Additionally, the protective effects of 8-OH-DPAT and R-UH-301 on NMDA-induced caspase-3 activation and apoptosis were reversed by pretreatment with the 5-HT1A antagonists N-[2-[4-(2-methoxyphenyl)-1-piperazinyl] ethyl]-N-(2-pyridinyl) cyclohexane carboxamide (WAY 100635) and S-UH-301, respectively. Similarly, dose- and time-dependent increases in caspase-3 activity and DNA fragmentation were observed in rat primary mesencephalic neurons after a brief exposure to NMDA and glutamate. Caspase-3 activation and DNA fragmentation in primary mesencephalic neurons were almost completely inhibited by 8-OH-DPAT. This neuroprotective effect of 8-OH-DPAT was reversed by WAY 100635. Additionally, 8-OH-DPAT blocked tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive cell death after NMDA exposure and also almost completely attenuated the NMDA-induced Ca(2+) influx in primary mesencephalic cultures. Furthermore, 8-OH-DPAT and R-UH-301 blocked apoptotic cell death in the primary mesencephalic neurons that were exposed to the Parkinsonian toxin MPP(+). Together, these results suggest that 5-HT1A receptor stimulation may be a promising pharmacological approach in the development of neuroprotective agents for PD.

Caspase-3 Dependent Proteolytic Activation of Protein Kinase C Delta Mediates and Regulates 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+)-induced Apoptotic Cell Death in Dopaminergic Cells: Relevance to Oxidative Stress in Dopaminergic Degeneration

The European Journal of Neuroscience. Sep, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14511319

1-Methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), the neurotoxic metabolite of MPTP (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine), induces apoptosis in dopaminergic neurons; however, the cellular mechanisms underlying the degenerative process are not well understood. In the present study, we demonstrate that caspase-3 mediated proteolytic activation of protein kinase C delta (PKC delta) is critical in MPP+-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis. MPP+ exposure in rat dopaminergic neuronal cells resulted in time-dependent increases in reactive oxygen species generation, cytochrome c release, and caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation. Interestingly, MPP+ induced proteolytic cleavage of PKC delta (72-74 kDa) into a 41-kDa catalytic and a 38-kDa regulatory subunit, resulting in persistently increased kinase activity. The caspase-3 inhibitor Z-DEVD-fmk effectively blocked MPP+-induced PKC delta cleavage and kinase activity, suggesting that the proteolytic activation is caspase-3 mediated. Similar results were seen in MPP+-treated rat midbrain slices. Z-DEVD-fmk and the PKC delta specific inhibitor rottlerin almost completely blocked MPP+-induced DNA fragmentation. The superoxide dismutase mimetic, MnTBAP also effectively attenuated MPP+-induced caspase-3 activation, PKC delta cleavage, and DNA fragmentation. Furthermore, rottlerin attenuated MPP+-induced caspase-3 activity without affecting basal activity, suggesting positive feedback activation of caspase-3 by PKC delta. Intracellular delivery of catalytically active recombinant PKC delta significantly increased caspase-3 activity, further indicating that PKC delta regulates caspase-3 activity. Finally, over-expression of a kinase inactive PKC delta K376R mutant prevented MPP+-induced caspase activation and DNA fragmentation, confirming the pro-apoptotic function of PKC delta in dopaminergic cell death. Together, we demonstrate for the first time that MPP+-induced oxidative stress proteolytically activates PKC delta in a caspase-3-dependent manner to induce apoptosis and up-regulate the caspase cascade in dopaminergic neuronal cells.

Role of Proteolytic Activation of Protein Kinase Cdelta in Oxidative Stress-induced Apoptosis

Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. Oct, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14580317

Protein kinase Cdelta (PKCdelta), a member of the novel PKC family, is emerging as a redox-sensitive kinase in various cell types. Oxidative stress activates the PKCdelta kinase by translocation, tyrosine phosphorylation, or proteolysis. During proteolysis, caspase-3 cleaves the native PKCdelta (72-74 kDa) into 41-kDa catalytically active and 38-kDa regulatory fragments to persistently activate the kinase. The proteolytic activation of PKCdelta plays a key role in promoting apoptotic cell death in various cell types, including neuronal cells. Attenuation of PKCdelta proteolytic activation by antioxidants suggests that the cellular redox status can influence activation of the proapoptotic kinase. PKCdelta may also amplify apoptotic signaling via positive feedback activation of the caspase cascade. Thus, the dual role of PKCdelta as a mediator and amplifier of apoptosis may be important in the pathogenesis of major neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and Huntington disease.

Suppression of Caspase-3-dependent Proteolytic Activation of Protein Kinase C Delta by Small Interfering RNA Prevents MPP+-induced Dopaminergic Degeneration

Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences. Mar, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15033169

The cellular mechanisms underlying the neurodegenerative process in Parkinson's disease are not well understood. Using RNA interference (RNAi), we demonstrate that caspase-3-dependent proteolytic activation of protein kinase Cdelta (PKCdelta) contributes to the degenerative process in dopaminergic neurons. The Parkinsonian toxin MPP(+) activated caspase-3 and proteolytically cleaved PKCdelta into catalytic and regulatory subunits, resulting in persistent kinase activation in mesencephalic dopaminergic neuronal cells. The caspase-3 inhibitor Z-DEVD-FMK and the caspase-9 inhibitor Z-LEHD-FMK effectively blocked MPP(+)-induced PKCdelta proteolytic activation. To characterize the functional role of PKCdelta activation in MPP(+)-induced dopaminergic cell death, RNAi-mediated gene knockdown was performed. Among four siRNAs designed against PKCdelta, two specifically suppressed PKCdelta expression. The application of siRNA abolished the MPP(+)-induced PKCdelta activation, DNA fragmentation, and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neuronal loss. Together, these results suggest that proteolytic activation of PKCdelta may be a critical downstream event in the degenerative process of Parkinson's disease.

Dieldrin Promotes Proteolytic Cleavage of Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase and Apoptosis in Dopaminergic Cells: Protective Effect of Mitochondrial Anti-apoptotic Protein Bcl-2

Neurotoxicology. Jun, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15183012

Previously, we demonstrated that the organochlorine pesticide dieldrin induces mitochondrial depolarization, caspase-3 activation and apoptosis in dopaminergic PC12 cells. We also demonstrated that protein kinase Cdelta (PKCdelta), a member of a novel PKC family of proteins, is proteolytically activated by caspase-3 to mediate apoptotic cell death processes. In the present study, we have further characterized the protective effect of the major mitochondrial anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 against dieldrin-induced apoptotic events in dopaminergic cells. Exposure to dieldrin (30-100 microM) produced significant cytotoxicity and caspase-3 activation within 3h in vector-transfected PC12 cells, whereas human Bcl-2-transfected PC12 cells were almost completely resistant to dieldrin-induced cytotoxicity and caspase-3 activation. Also, dieldrin (30-300 microM) treatment induced proteolytic cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), which was blocked by pretreatment with caspase-3 inhibitors Z-DEVD-FMK and Z-VAD-FMK. Additionally, dieldrin-induced chromatin condensation and DNA fragmentation were completely blocked in Bcl-2-overexpressed PC12 cells as compared to vector control cells. Together, these results clearly indicate that overexpression of mitochondrial anti-apoptotic protein protects against dieldrin-induced apoptotic cell death and further suggest that dieldrin primarily alters mitochondrial function to initiate apoptotic cell death in dopaminergic cells.

Activation of Protein Kinase C Delta by Proteolytic Cleavage Contributes to Manganese-induced Apoptosis in Dopaminergic Cells: Protective Role of Bcl-2

Biochemical Pharmacology. Jan, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15588722

Chronic inorganic manganese exposure causes selective toxicity to the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system, resulting in a Parkinsonian-like neurological condition known as Manganism. Apoptosis has been shown to occur in manganese-induced neurotoxicity; however, the down-stream cellular target of caspase-3 that contributes to DNA fragmentation is not established. Herein, we demonstrate that proteolytic activation of protein kinase Cdelta (PKCdelta) by caspase-3 plays a critical role in manganese-induced apoptotic cell death. Treatment of PC12 cells with manganese caused a sequential activation of mitochondrial-dependent pro-apoptotic events, including mitochondrial membrane depolarization, cytochrome c release, caspase-3 activation, and DNA fragmentation. Overexpression of Bcl-2 in PC12 cells remarkably attenuated each of these events, indicating that the mitochondrial-dependent apoptotic cascade contributes to manganese-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, PKCdelta was proteolytically cleaved by caspase-3, causing a persistent activation of the kinase. The manganese-induced proteolytic cleavage of PKCdelta was significantly blocked by Bcl-2-overexpression. Administration of active recombinant PKCdelta induced DNA fragmentation in PC12 cells, suggesting a pro-apoptotic role of PKCdelta. Furthermore, expression of catalytically inactive mutant PKCdelta(K376R) via a lentiviral gene delivery system effectively attenuated manganese-induced apoptosis. Together, these results suggest that the mitochondrial-dependent caspase cascade mediates apoptosis via proteolytic activation of PKCdelta in manganese-induced neurotoxicity.

Protein Kinase Cdelta is a Key Downstream Mediator of Manganese-induced Apoptosis in Dopaminergic Neuronal Cells

The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Apr, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15608081

Manganese (Mn) exposure causes manganism, a neurological disorder similar to Parkinson's disease. However, the cellular mechanism by which Mn induces dopaminergic neuronal cell death remains unclear. In the present study, we sought to investigate the key downstream apoptotic cell signaling events that contribute to Mn-induced cell death in mesencephalic dopaminergic neuronal (N27) cells. Mn exposure induced a dose-dependent increase in neuronal cell death in N27 cells. The cell death was accompanied by sequential activation of mitochondrial-dependent proapoptotic events, including cytochrome c release, caspase-3 activation, and DNA fragmentation, but not caspase-8 activation, indicating that the mitochondrial-dependent apoptotic cascade primarily triggers Mn-induced apoptosis. Notably, Mn treatment proteolytically activated protein kinase Cdelta (PKCdelta), a member of a novel class of protein kinase C. The caspase-3 specific inhibitor benzyloxycarbonyl-Asp-Glu-Val-Asp-fluoromethylketone (Z-DEVD-FMK) significantly blocked PKCdelta cleavage and its kinase activity, indicating that caspase-3 mediates the proteolytic activation. Cotreatment with the PKCdelta inhibitor rottlerin or the caspase-3 inhibitor Z-DEVD-FMK almost completely blocked Mn-induced DNA fragmentation. Additionally, N27 cells expressing a catalytically inactive PKCdelta(K376R) protein (PKCdelta dominant negative mutant) or a caspase cleavage resistant PKCdelta(D327A) protein (PKCdelta cleavage resistant mutant) were found to be resistant to Mn-induced apoptosis. To further establish the proapoptotic role of PKCdelta, RNA interference-mediated gene knockdown was performed. Small interfering RNA suppression of PKCdelta expression protected N27 cells from Mn-induced apoptotic cell death. Collectively, these results suggest that caspase-3-dependent proteolytic activation of PKCdelta plays a key role in Mn-induced apoptotic cell death.

Blood Lipid and Oxidative Stress Responses to Soy Protein with Isoflavones and Phytic Acid in Postmenopausal Women

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Mar, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15755827

Postmenopausal women are at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) as a result of unfavorable blood lipid profiles and increased oxidative stress. Soy protein consumption may help protect against these risk factors.

Tyrosine Phosphorylation Regulates the Proteolytic Activation of Protein Kinase Cdelta in Dopaminergic Neuronal Cells

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Aug, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15961393

Oxidative stress is a key apoptotic stimulus in neuronal cell death and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson disease (PD). Recently, we demonstrated that protein kinase C-delta (PKCdelta) is an oxidative stress-sensitive kinase that can be activated by caspase-3-dependent proteolytic cleavage to induce apoptotic cell death in cell culture models of Parkinson disease (Kaul, S., Kanthasamy, A., Kitazawa, M., Anantharam, V., and Kanthasamy, A. G. (2003) Eur. J. Neurosci. 18, 1387-1401 and Kanthasamy, A. G., Kitazawa, M., Kanthasamy, A., and Anantharam, V. (2003) Antioxid. Redox. Signal. 5, 609-620). Here we showed that the phosphorylation of a tyrosine residue in PKCdelta can regulate the proteolytic activation of the kinase during oxidative stress, which consequently influences the apoptotic cell death in dopaminergic neuronal cells. Exposure of a mesencephalic dopaminergic neuronal cell line (N27 cells) to H(2)O(2)(0-300 microm) induced a dose-dependent increase in cytotoxicity, caspase-3 activation and PKCdelta cleavage. H(2)O(2)-induced proteolytic activation of PKC was delta mediated by the activation of caspase-3. Most interestingly, both the general Src tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein (25 microm) and the p60(Src) tyrosine-specific kinase inhibitor (TSKI; 5 microm) dramatically inhibited H(2)O(2) and the Parkinsonian toxin 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium-induced PKCdelta cleavage, kinase activation, and apoptotic cell death. H(2)O(2) treatment also increased phosphorylation of PKCdelta at tyrosine site 311, which was effectively blocked by co-treatment with TSKI. Furthermore, N27 cells overexpressing a PKCdelta(Y311F) mutant protein exhibited resistance to H(2)O(2)-induced PKCdelta cleavage, caspase activation, and apoptosis. To our knowledge, these data demonstrate for the first time that phosphorylation of Tyr-311 on PKCdelta can regulate the proteolytic activation and proapoptotic function of the kinase in dopaminergic neuronal cells.

Wild-type Alpha-synuclein Interacts with Pro-apoptotic Proteins PKCdelta and BAD to Protect Dopaminergic Neuronal Cells Against MPP+-induced Apoptotic Cell Death

Brain Research. Molecular Brain Research. Sep, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15978696

Alpha-synuclein is a pre-synaptic protein of unknown function that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently, we demonstrated that 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+) induces caspase-3-dependent proteolytic activation of PKCdelta, which subsequently contributes to neuronal apoptotic cell death in mesencephalic dopaminergic neuronal cells. In the present study, we examined whether PKCdelta interacts with alpha-synuclein to modulate MPP+-induced dopaminergic degeneration. Over-expression of wild-type human alpha-synuclein in mesencephalic dopaminergic neuronal cells (N27 cells) attenuated MPP+-induced (300 microM) cytotoxicity, release of mitochondrial cytochrome c, and subsequent caspase-3 activation, without affecting reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Wild-type alpha-synuclein over-expression also dramatically reduced MPP+-induced caspase-3-mediated proteolytic cleavage of PKCdelta, whereas over-expression of the mutant human alpha-synucleinA53T did not alter the PKCdelta cleavage under similar conditions. Immunoprecipitation-kinase assay revealed reduced PKCdelta kinase activity in wild-type alpha-synuclein over-expressing cells in response to MPP+ treatment. Wild-type alpha-synuclein over-expression also rescued mesencephalic dopaminergic neuronal cells from MPP+-induced apoptotic cell death, while alpha-synucleinA53T exacerbated the MPP+-induced DNA fragmentation. Furthermore, co-immunoprecipitation studies revealed that alpha-synuclein interacts with the pro-apoptotic proteins PKCdelta and BAD, but not with the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 following MPP+ treatment. We also observed that the interaction between PKCdelta and alpha-synuclein does not involve direct phosphorylation. Together, our results demonstrate that wild-type alpha-synuclein interacts with the pro-apoptotic molecules BAD and PKCdelta to protect dopaminergic neuronal cells against neurotoxic insults.

Dieldrin Induces Ubiquitin-proteasome Dysfunction in Alpha-synuclein Overexpressing Dopaminergic Neuronal Cells and Enhances Susceptibility to Apoptotic Cell Death

The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Oct, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15987830

Exposure to pesticides is implicated in the etiopathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). The organochlorine pesticide dieldrin is one of the environmental chemicals potentially linked to PD. Because recent evidence indicates that abnormal accumulation and aggregation of alpha-synuclein and ubiquitin-proteasome system dysfunction can contribute to the degenerative processes of PD, in the present study we examined whether the environmental pesticide dieldrin impairs proteasomal function and subsequently promotes apoptotic cell death in rat mesencephalic dopaminergic neuronal cells overexpressing human alpha-synuclein. Overexpression of wild-type alpha-synuclein significantly reduced the proteasomal activity. Dieldrin exposure dose-dependently (0-70 microM) decreased proteasomal activity, and 30 microM dieldrin inhibited activity by more than 60% in alpha-synuclein cells. Confocal microscopic analysis of dieldrin-treated alpha-synuclein cells revealed that alpha-synuclein-positive protein aggregates colocalized with ubiquitin protein. Further characterization of the aggregates with the autophagosomal marker mondansyl cadaverine and the lysosomal marker and dot-blot analysis revealed that these protein oligomeric aggregates were distinct from autophagosomes and lysosomes. The dieldrin-induced proteasomal dysfunction in alpha-synuclein cells was also confirmed by significant accumulation of ubiquitin protein conjugates in the detergent-insoluble fraction. We found that proteasomal inhibition preceded cell death after dieldrin treatment and that alpha-synuclein cells were more sensitive than vector cells to the toxicity. Furthermore, measurement of caspase-3 and DNA fragmentation confirmed the enhanced sensitivity of alpha-synuclein cells to dieldrin-induced apoptosis. Together, our results suggest that increased expression of alpha-synuclein predisposes dopaminergic cells to proteasomal dysfunction, which can be further exacerbated by environmental exposure to certain neurotoxic compounds, such as dieldrin.

Dieldrin-induced Neurotoxicity: Relevance to Parkinson's Disease Pathogenesis

Neurotoxicology. Aug, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16112328

Parkinson's disease (PD) is increasingly recognized as a neurodegenerative disorder strongly associated with environmental chemical exposures. Recent epidemiological data demonstrate that environmental risk factors may play a dominant role as compared to genetic factors in the etiopathogenesis of idiopathic Parkinson's disease. Identification of key genetic defects such as alpha-synuclein and parkin mutations in PD also underscores the important role of genetic factors in the disease. Thus, understanding the interplay between genes and environment in PD may be critical to unlocking the mysteries of this 200-year-old neurodegenerative disease. Pesticides and metals are the most common classes of environmental chemicals that promote dopaminergic degeneration. The organochlorine pesticide dieldrin has been found in human PD postmortem brain tissues, suggesting that this pesticide has potential to promote nigral cell death. Though dieldrin has been banned, humans continue to be exposed to the pesticide through contaminated dairy products and meats due to the persistent accumulation of the pesticide in the environment. This review summarizes various neurotoxic studies conducted in both cell culture and animals models following dieldrin exposure and discusses their relevance to key pathological mechanisms associated with nigral dopaminergic degeneration including oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, protein aggregation, and apoptosis.

Interaction of Metals with Prion Protein: Possible Role of Divalent Cations in the Pathogenesis of Prion Diseases

Neurotoxicology. Sep, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16860868

Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans and animals. The rapid clinical progression, change in protein conformation, cross-species transmission and massive neuronal degeneration are some key features of this devastating degenerative condition. Although the etiology is unknown, aberrant processing of cellular prion proteins is well established in the pathogenesis of prion diseases. Normal cellular prion protein (PrP(c)) is highly conserved in mammals and expressed predominantly in the brain. Nevertheless, the exact function of the normal prion protein in the CNS has not been fully elucidated. Prion proteins may function as a metal binding protein because divalent cations such as copper, zinc and manganese can bind to octapeptide repeat sequences in the N-terminus of PrP(c). Since the binding of these metals to the octapeptide has been proposed to influence both structural and functional properties of prion proteins, alterations in transition metal levels can alter the course of the disease. Furthermore, cellular antioxidant capacity is significantly compromised due to conversion of the normal prion protein (PrP(c)) to an abnormal scrapie prion (PrP(sc)) protein, suggesting that oxidative stress may play a role in the neurodegenerative process of prion diseases. The combination of imbalances in cellular transition metals and increased oxidative stress could further exacerbate the neurotoxic effect of PrP(sc). This review includes an overview of the structure and function of prion proteins, followed by the role of metals such as copper, manganese and iron in the physiological function of the PrP(c), and the possible role of transition metals in the pathogenesis of the prion disease.

Proteasome Inhibitor MG-132 Induces Dopaminergic Degeneration in Cell Culture and Animal Models

Neurotoxicology. Sep, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16870259

Impairment in ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) has recently been implicated in Parkinson's disease, as demonstrated by reduced proteasomal activities, protein aggregation and mutation of several genes associated with UPS. However, experimental studies with proteasome inhibitors failed to yield consensus regarding the effect of proteasome inhibition on dopaminergic degeneration. In this study, we systematically examined the effect of the proteasome inhibitor MG-132 on dopaminergic degeneration in cell culture and animal models of Parkinson's disease. Exposure of immortalized dopaminergic neuronal cells (N27) to low doses of MG-132 (2-10 microM) resulted in dose- and time-dependent cytotoxicity. Further, exposure to MG-132 (5 microM) for 10 min led to dramatic reduction of proteasomal activity (>70%) accompanied by a rapid accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins in these cells. MG-132 treatment also induced increases in caspase-3 activity in a time-dependent manner, with significant activation occurring between 90 and 150 min. We also noted a 12-fold increase in DNA fragmentation in MG-132 treated N27 cells. Similarly, primary mesencephalic neurons exposed to 5 microM MG-132 also induced >60% loss of TH positive neurons but only a minimal loss of non-dopaminergic cells. Stereotaxic injection of MG-132 (0.4 microg in 4 microl) into the substantia nigra compacta (SNc) in C57 black mice resulted in significant depletion of ipisilateral striatal dopamine and DOPAC content as compared to the vehicle-injected contralateral control sides. Also, we observed a significant decrease in the number of TH positive neurons in the substantia nigra of MG-132-injected compared to the vehicle-injected sites. Collectively, these results demonstrate that the proteasomal inhibitor MG-132 induces dopamine depletion and nigral dopaminergic degeneration in both cell culture and animal models, and suggest that proteasomal dysfunction may promote nigral dopaminergic degeneration in Parkinson's disease.

A Novel Peptide Inhibitor Targeted to Caspase-3 Cleavage Site of a Proapoptotic Kinase Protein Kinase C Delta (PKCdelta) Protects Against Dopaminergic Neuronal Degeneration in Parkinson's Disease Models

Free Radical Biology & Medicine. Nov, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 17045926

Oxidative stress and apoptosis are considered common mediators of many neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently, we identified that PKCdelta, a member of the novel PKC isoform family, is proteolytically activated by caspase-3 to induce apoptosis in experimental models of PD [Eur. J. Neurosci. 18 (6):1387-1401, 2003; Antioxid. Redox Signal. 5 (5):609-620, 2003]. Since caspase-3 cleaves PKCdelta between proline and aspartate residues at the cleavage site 324DIPD327 to activate the kinase, we developed an irreversible and competitive peptide inhibitor, Z-Asp(OMe)-Ile-Pro-Asp(OMe)-FMK (z-DIPD-fmk), to mimic the caspase-3 cleavage site of PKCdelta and tested its efficacy against oxidative stress-induced cell death in PD models. Cotreatment of z-DIPD-fmk with the parkinsonian toxins MPP(+) and 6-OHDA dose dependently attenuated cytotoxicity, caspase-3 activation, and DNA fragmentation in a mesencephalic dopaminergic neuronal cell model (N27 cells). However, z-DIPD-fmk treatment did not block MPP(+)-induced increases in caspase-9 enzyme activity. The z-DIPD-fmk peptide was much more potent (IC50 6 microM) than the most widely used and commercially available caspase-3 inhibitor z-DEVD-fmk (IC50 18 microM). Additionally, z-DIPD-fmk more effectively blocked PKCdelta cleavage and proteolytic activation than the cleavage of another caspase-3 substrate, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Importantly, the peptide inhibitor z-DIPD-fmk completely rescued TH(+) neurons from MPP(+)- and 6-OHDA-induced toxicity in mouse primary mesencephalic cultures. Collectively, these results demonstrate that the PKCdelta cleavage site is a novel target for development of a neuroprotective therapeutic strategy for PD.

Microarray Analysis of Oxidative Stress Regulated Genes in Mesencephalic Dopaminergic Neuronal Cells: Relevance to Oxidative Damage in Parkinson's Disease

Neurochemistry International. May, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17397968

Oxidative stress and apoptotic cell death have been implicated in the dopaminergic cell loss that characterizes Parkinson's disease. While factors contributing to apoptotic cell death are not well characterized, oxidative stress is known to activate an array of cell signaling molecules that participate in apoptotic cell death mechanisms. We investigated oxidative stress-induced cytotoxicity of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in three cell lines, the dopaminergic mesencephalon-derived N27 cell line, the GABAergic striatum-derived M213-20 cell line, and the hippocampal HN2-5 cell line. N27 cells were more sensitive to H2O2-induced cell death than M213-20 and HN2-5 cells. H2O2 induced significantly greater increases in caspase-3 activity in N27 cells than in M213-20 cells. H2O2-induced apoptotic cell death in N27 cells was mediated by caspase-3-dependent proteolytic activation of PKCdelta. Gene expression microarrays were employed to examine the specific transcriptional changes in N27 cells exposed to 100 microM H2O2 for 4 h. Changes in genes encoding pro- or anti-apoptotic proteins included up-regulation of BIK, PAWR, STAT5B, NPAS2, Jun B, MEK4, CCT7, PPP3CC, and PSDM3, while key down-regulated genes included BNIP3, NPTXR, RAGA, STK6, YWHAH, and MAP2K1. Overall, the changes indicate a modulation of transcriptional activity, chaperone activity, kinase activity, and apoptotic activity that appears highly specific, coordinated and relevant to cell survival. Utilizing this in vitro model to identify novel oxidative stress-regulated genes may be useful in unraveling the molecular mechanisms underlying dopaminergic degeneration in Parkinson's disease.

Normal Cellular Prion Protein Protects Against Manganese-induced Oxidative Stress and Apoptotic Cell Death

Toxicological Sciences : an Official Journal of the Society of Toxicology. Aug, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17483122

The normal prion protein is abundantly expressed in the central nervous system, but its biological function remains unclear. The prion protein has octapeptide repeat regions that bind to several divalent metals, suggesting that the prion proteins may alter the toxic effect of environmental neurotoxic metals. In the present study, we systematically examined whether prion protein modifies the neurotoxicity of manganese (Mn) by comparing the effect of Mn on mouse neural cells expressing prion protein (PrP(C)-cells) and prion-knockout (PrP(KO)-cells). Exposure to Mn (10microM-10mM) for 24 h produced a dose-dependent cytotoxic response in both PrP(C)-cells and PrP(KO)-cells. Interestingly, PrP(C)-cells (EC(50) 117.6microM) were more resistant to Mn-induced cytotoxicity, as compared to PrP(KO)-cells (EC(50) 59.9microM), suggesting a protective role for PrP(C) against Mn neurotoxicity. Analysis of intracellular Mn levels showed less Mn accumulation in PrP(C)-cells as compared to PrP(KO)-cells, but no significant changes in the expression of the metal transporter proteins transferrin and DMT-1. Furthermore, Mn-induced mitochondrial depolarization and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation were significantly attenuated in PrP(C)-cells as compared to PrP(KO)-cells. Measurement of antioxidant status revealed similar basal levels of glutathione (GSH) in PrP(C)-cells and PrP(KO)-cells; however, Mn treatment caused greater depletion of GSH in PrP(KO)-cells. Mn-induced mitochondrial depolarization and ROS production were followed by time- and dose-dependent activation of the apoptotic cell death cascade involving caspase-9 and -3. Notably, DNA fragmentation induced by both Mn treatment and the oxidative stress inducer hydrogen peroxide (100microM) was significantly suppressed in PrP(C)-cells as compared to PrP(KO)-cells. Together, these results demonstrate that prion protein interferes with divalent metal Mn uptake and protects against Mn-induced oxidative stress and apoptotic cell death.

Environmental Neurotoxic Chemicals-induced Ubiquitin Proteasome System Dysfunction in the Pathogenesis and Progression of Parkinson's Disease

Pharmacology & Therapeutics. Jun, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17521740

Proteolytic degradation of unwanted proteins by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is critical for normal maintenance of various cellular functions. Parkinson's disease (PD), one of the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorders, is characterized by prominent and irreversible nigral dopaminergic neuronal loss and intracellular protein aggregations. Epidemiological studies imply both environmental neurotoxins and genetic predisposition as potential risk factors for PD, though mechanisms underlying selective dopaminergic degeneration remain unclear. Studies with experimental PD models and postmortem PD brains have provided explicit evidence for mitochondria dysfunction and oxidative stress in PD pathogenesis. Recent identification of mutants in PINK1, DJ-1, Parkin, and LRRK-2 genes compliments the oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction hypotheses in dopaminergic neuronal degeneration in PD. Mutants of alpha-synuclein, Uch-L1 and Parkin support the involvement of UPS dysfunction in PD. Furthermore, various Parkinsonian toxicants have been shown to impair mitochondrial function, redox balances, and to some extent protein degradation machinery. Because environmental exposure to various neurotoxic agents is considered a dominant risk for development of PD, the interrelationship between neurotoxicant exposures and UPS dysfunction must be clearly understood. Elucidation of this interrelationship will help clarify 2 areas: (i) whether UPS dysfunction in PD is a primary pathogenic factor leading to nigral neuronal death or if it simply occurs as a consequence of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction and (ii) the interaction of genes and environment in the acceleration of nigral dopaminergic degeneration by targeting UPS. We review the recent evidence for UPS deficits in dopaminergic degeneration triggered by neurotoxins.

Neuroprotective Effect of Protein Kinase C Delta Inhibitor Rottlerin in Cell Culture and Animal Models of Parkinson's Disease

The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Sep, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17565007

Recent studies from our laboratory demonstrated that the protein kinase C (PKC) delta isoform is an oxidative stress-sensitive kinase and a key mediator of apoptotic cell death in Parkinson's Disease (PD) models (Eur J Neurosci 18:1387-1401, 2003; Mol Cell Neurosci 25:406-421, 2004). We showed that native PKC delta is proteolytically activated by caspase-3 and that suppression of PKC delta by dominant-negative mutant or small interfering RNA against the kinase can effectively block apoptotic cell death in cellular models of PD. In an attempt to translate the mechanistic studies to a neuroprotective strategy targeting PKC delta, we systematically characterized the neuroprotective effect of a PKC delta inhibitor, rottlerin, in 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+))-treated primary mesencephalic neuronal cultures as well as in an 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) animal model of PD. Rottlerin treatment in primary mesencephalic cultures significantly attenuated MPP(+)-induced tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neuronal cell and neurite loss. Administration of rottlerin, either intraperitoneally or orally, to C57 black mice showed significant protection against MPTP-induced locomotor deficits and striatal depletion of dopamine and its metabolite 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid. Notably, rottlerin post-treatment was effective even when MPTP-induced depletion of dopamine and its metabolites was greater than 60%, demonstrating its neurorescue potential. Furthermore, the dose of rottlerin used in neuroprotective studies effectively attenuated the MPTP-induced PKC delta kinase activity. Importantly, stereological analysis of nigral neurons revealed rottlerin treatment significantly protected against MPTP-induced TH-positive neuronal loss in the substantia nigra compacta. Collectively, our findings demonstrate the neuroprotective effect of rottlerin in both cell culture and preclinical animal models of PD, and they suggest that pharmacological modulation of PKC delta may offer a novel therapeutic strategy for treatment of PD.

Pharmacological Inhibition of Neuronal NADPH Oxidase Protects Against 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+)-induced Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis in Mesencephalic Dopaminergic Neuronal Cells

Neurotoxicology. Sep, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17904225

Oxidative stress is widely recognized as a key mediator of degenerative processes in Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently, we demonstrated that the dopaminergic toxin MPP+ initiates oxidative stress to cause caspase-3-dependent apoptotic cell death in mesencephalic dopaminergic neuronal (N27) cells. In this study, we determined the source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced during MPP+-induced apoptotic cell death. In addition to mitochondria, plasma membrane NADPH oxidase is considered a major producer of ROS inside the cell. Here, we show that N27 neuronal cells express key NADPH oxidase subunits gp91phox and p67phox. We used structurally diverse NADPH oxidase inhibitors, aminoethyl-benzenesulfonylfluoride (AEBSF, 100-1000microM), apocynin (100-1000microM), and diphenylene iodonium (DPI, 3-30microM), to inhibit intrinsic NADPH oxidase activity in N27 cells. Flow cytometric analysis using the ROS-sensitive dye hydroethidine revealed that AEBSF blocked 300microM MPP+-induced ROS production for over 45min in N27 cells, in a dose-dependent manner. Further treatment with DPI, apocynin, and SOD also blocked MPP+-induced ROS production. In Sytox cell death assays, co-treatment with AEBSF, apocynin, or DPI for 24h significantly suppressed MPP+-induced cytotoxic cell death. Similarly, co-treatment with these inhibitors also significantly attenuated MPP+-induced increases in caspase-3 enzymatic activity. Furthermore, quantitative DNA fragmentation ELISA assays revealed that AEBSF, DPI, and apocynin rescue N27 cells from MPP+-induced apoptotic cell death. Together, these results indicate for the first time that intracellular ROS generated by NAPDH oxidase are present within the mesencephalic neuronal cells, and are a key determinant of MPP+-mediated dopaminergic degeneration in in vitro models of dopaminergic degeneration. This study supports a critical role of NADPH oxidase in the oxidative damage in PD; targeting this enzyme may lead to novel therapies for PD.

Neuroprotective Effect of the Natural Iron Chelator, Phytic Acid in a Cell Culture Model of Parkinson's Disease

Toxicology. Mar, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18255213

Disrupted iron metabolism and excess iron accumulation has been reported in the brains of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Because excessive iron can induce oxidative stress subsequently causing degradation of nigral dopaminergic neurons in PD, we determined the protective effect of a naturally occurring iron chelator, phytic acid (IP6), on 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+))-induced cell death in immortalized rat mesencephalic/dopaminergic cells. Cell death was induced with MPP(+) in normal and iron-excess conditions and cytotoxicity was measured by thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide (MTT assay) and trypan blue staining. Apoptotic cell death was also measured with caspase-3 activity, DNA fragmentation, and Hoechst nuclear staining. Compared to MPP(+) treatment, IP6 (30 micromol/L) increased cell viability by 19% (P<0.05) and decreased cell death by 22% (P<0.05). A threefold increase in caspase-3 activity (P<0.001) and a twofold increase in DNA fragmentation (P<0.05) with MPP(+) treatment was decreased by 55% (P<0.01) and 52% (P<0.05), respectively with IP6. Cell survival was increased by 18% (P<0.05) and 42% (P<0.001) with 30 and 100 micromol/L of IP6, respectively in iron-excess conditions. A 40% and 52% (P<0.001) protection was observed in caspase-3 activity with 30 and 100 micromol/L IP6, respectively in iron-excess condition. Similarly, a 45% reduction (P<0.001) in DNA fragmentation was found with 100 micromol/L IP6. In addition, Hoechst nuclear staining results confirmed the protective effect of IP6 against apoptosis. Similar protection was also observed with the differentiated cells. Collectively, our results demonstrate a significant neuroprotective effect of phytate in a cell culture model of PD.

Proteasome Inhibitor-induced Apoptosis is Mediated by Positive Feedback Amplification of PKCdelta Proteolytic Activation and Mitochondrial Translocation

Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Dec, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18298651

Emerging evidence implicates impaired protein degradation by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) in Parkinson's disease; however cellular mechanisms underlying dopaminergic degeneration during proteasomal dysfunction are yet to be characterized. In the present study, we identified that the novel PKC isoform PKCdelta plays a central role in mediating apoptotic cell death following UPS dysfunction in dopaminergic neuronal cells. Inhibition of proteasome function by MG-132 in dopaminergic neuronal cell model (N27 cells) rapidly depolarized mitochondria independent of ROS generation to activate the apoptotic cascade involving cytochrome c release, and caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation. PKCdelta was a key downstream effector of caspase-3 because the kinase was proteolytically cleaved by caspase-3 following exposure to proteasome inhibitors MG-132 or lactacystin, resulting in a persistent increase in the kinase activity. Notably MG-132 treatment resulted in translocation of proteolytically cleaved PKCdelta fragments to mitochondria in a time-dependent fashion, and the PKCdelta inhibition effectively blocked the activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3, indicating that the accumulation of the PKCdelta catalytic fragment in the mitochondrial fraction possibly amplifies mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. Overexpression of the kinase active catalytic fragment of PKCdelta (PKCdelta-CF) but not the regulatory fragment (RF), or mitochondria-targeted expression of PKCdelta-CF triggers caspase-3 activation and apoptosis. Furthermore, inhibition of PKCdelta proteolytic cleavage by a caspase-3 cleavage-resistant mutant (PKCdelta-CRM) or suppression of PKCdelta expression by siRNA significantly attenuated MG-132-induced caspase-9 and -3 activation and DNA fragmentation. Collectively, these results demonstrate that proteolytically activated PKCdelta has a significant feedback regulatory role in amplification of the mitochondria-mediated apoptotic cascade during proteasome dysfunction in dopaminergic neuronal cells.

Opposing Roles of Prion Protein in Oxidative Stress- and ER Stress-induced Apoptotic Signaling

Free Radical Biology & Medicine. Dec, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18835352

Although the prion protein is abundantly expressed in the CNS, its biological functions remain unclear. To determine the endogenous function of the cellular prion protein (PrP(c)), we compared the effects of oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress inducers on apoptotic signaling in PrP(c)-expressing and PrP(ko) (knockout) neural cells. H(2)O(2), brefeldin A (BFA), and tunicamycin (TUN) induced increases in caspase-9 and caspase-3, PKCdelta proteolytic activation, and DNA fragmentation in PrP(c) and PrP(ko) cells. Interestingly, ER stress-induced activation of caspases, PKCdelta, and apoptosis was significantly exacerbated in PrP(c) cells, whereas H(2)O(2)-induced proapoptotic changes were suppressed in PrP(c) compared to PrP(ko) cells. Additionally, caspase-12 and caspase-8 were activated only in the BFA and TUN treatments. Inhibitors of caspase-9, caspase-3, and PKCdelta significantly blocked H(2)O(2)-, BFA-, and TUN-induced apoptosis, whereas the caspase-8 inhibitor attenuated only BFA- and TUN-induced cell death, and the antioxidant MnTBAP blocked only H(2)O(2)-induced apoptosis. Overexpression of the kinase-inactive PKCdelta(K376R) or the cleavage site-resistant PKCdelta(D327A) mutant suppressed both ER and oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. Thus, PrP(c) plays a proapoptotic role during ER stress and an antiapoptotic role during oxidative stress-induced cell death. Together, these results suggest that cellular PrP enhances the susceptibility of neural cells to impairment of protein processing and trafficking, but decreases the vulnerability to oxidative insults, and that PKCdelta is a key downstream mediator of cellular stress-induced neuronal apoptosis.

Environmental Neurotoxin Dieldrin Induces Apoptosis Via Caspase-3-dependent Proteolytic Activation of Protein Kinase C Delta (PKCdelta): Implications for Neurodegeneration in Parkinson's Disease

Molecular Brain. 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18945348

In previous work, we investigated dieldrin cytotoxicity and signaling cell death mechanisms in dopaminergic PC12 cells. Dieldrin has been reported to be one of the environmental factors correlated with Parkinson's disease and may selectively destroy dopaminergic neurons.

Mitochondrial Accumulation of Polyubiquitinated Proteins and Differential Regulation of Apoptosis by Polyubiquitination Sites Lys-48 and -63

Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19432818

Proteins tagged with lysine (Lys, K) 48 polyubiquitins chains are destined for degradation by the 26S proteasomal system. Impairment of the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) function culminates in the accumulation of polyubiquitinated proteins in many neurodegenerative conditions including Parkinson's disease (PD). Nevertheless, the cellular mechanisms underlying cell death induced by an impaired UPS are still not clear. Intriguingly, recent studies indicate that several proteins associated with familial PD are capable of promoting the assembly of Lys-63 polyubiquitin chains. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the role of K48 and K63 ubiquitination in mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in in vitro models of dopaminergic degeneration. Exposure of the widely used proteasome inhibitor MG-132 to dopaminergic neuronal cell line (N27) induced a rapid accumulation of polyubiquitinated proteins in the mitochondria. This appears to result in the preferential association of ubiquitin conjugates in the outer membrane and polyubiquitination of outer membrane proteins. Interestingly, the ubiquitin(K48R) mutant effectively rescued cells from MG-132-induced mitochondrial apoptosis without altering the antioxidant status of cells; whereas the ubiquitin(K63R) mutant augmented the proapoptotic effect of MG-132. Herein, we report a novel conclusion that polyubiquitinated proteins, otherwise subjected to proteasomal degradation, preferentially accumulate in the mitochondria during proteolytic stress; and that polyubiquitination of Lys-48 and Lys-63 are key determinants of mitochondria-mediated cell death during proteasomal dysfunction. Together, these findings yield novel insights into a crosstalk between the UPS and mitochondria in dopaminergic neuronal cells.

Vanadium Induces Dopaminergic Neurotoxicity Via Protein Kinase Cdelta Dependent Oxidative Signaling Mechanisms: Relevance to Etiopathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease

Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. Oct, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19646462

Environmental exposure to neurotoxic metals through various sources including exposure to welding fumes has been linked to an increased incidence of Parkinson's disease (PD). Welding fumes contain many different metals including vanadium typically present as particulates containing vanadium pentoxide (V2O5). However, possible neurotoxic effects of this metal oxide on dopaminergic neuronal cells are not well studied. In the present study, we characterized vanadium-induced oxidative stress-dependent cellular events in cell culture models of PD. V2O5 was neurotoxic to dopaminergic neuronal cells including primary nigral dopaminergic neurons and the EC50 was determined to be 37 microM in N27 dopaminergic neuronal cell model. The neurotoxic effect was accompanied by a time-dependent uptake of vanadium and upregulation of metal transporter proteins Tf and DMT1 in N27 cells. Additionally, vanadium resulted in a threefold increase in reactive oxygen species generation, followed by release of mitochondrial cytochrome c into cytoplasm and subsequent activation of caspase-9 (>fourfold) and caspase-3 (>ninefold). Interestingly, vanadium exposure induced proteolytic cleavage of native protein kinase Cdelta (PKCdelta, 72-74 kDa) to yield a 41 kDa catalytically active fragment resulting in a persistent increase in PKCdelta kinase activity. Co-treatment with pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK significantly blocked vanadium-induced PKCdelta proteolytic activation, indicating that caspases mediate PKCdelta cleavage. Also, co-treatment with Z-VAD-FMK almost completely inhibited V2O5-induced DNA fragmentation. Furthermore, PKCdelta knockdown using siRNA protected N27 cells from V2O5-induced apoptotic cell death. Collectively, these results demonstrate that vanadium can exert neurotoxic effects in dopaminergic neuronal cells via caspase-3-dependent PKCdelta cleavage, suggesting that metal exposure may promote nigral dopaminergic degeneration.

Curcumin Enhances Paraquat-induced Apoptosis of N27 Mesencephalic Cells Via the Generation of Reactive Oxygen Species

Neurotoxicology. Nov, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19660496

Curcumin, the active compound of the rhizome of Curcuma longa has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiproliferative activities. This agent has been shown to regulate numerous transcription factors, cytokines, protein kinases, adhesion molecules, redox status and enzymes that have been linked to inflammation. While curcumin has been identified as an activator of apoptosis in several cell lines, the mechanism by which it initiates apoptosis, however, remains poorly understood. We considered curcumin from the point of view of its ability to protect against oxidative stress, the latter being one factor strongly implicated in the development of Parkinson's disease. Although the etiology of Parkinson's disease remains unknown, epidemiological studies have linked exposure to pesticides such paraquat to an increased risk of developing the condition. Analysis of the neurotoxic properties of these pesticide compounds has been focused on their ability to induce oxidative stress in neural cells. Given curcumin's capacity to protect against oxidative stress, it has been considered as a potential therapeutic agent for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease that involve an oxidative stress component. In the present report we describe the effect of curcumin in paraquat-mediated apoptosis of N27 mesencepahlic cells. We show that subtoxic concentrations of curcumin sensitize N27 mesencephalic cells to paraquat-mediated apoptosis.

Manganese Upregulates Cellular Prion Protein and Contributes to Altered Stabilization and Proteolysis: Relevance to Role of Metals in Pathogenesis of Prion Disease

Toxicological Sciences : an Official Journal of the Society of Toxicology. Jun, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20176619

Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative diseases resulting from misfolding of normal cellular prion (PrP(C)) into an abnormal form of scrapie prion (PrP(Sc)). The cellular mechanisms underlying the misfolding of PrP(C) are not well understood. Since cellular prion proteins harbor divalent metal-binding sites in the N-terminal region, we examined the effect of manganese on PrP(C) processing in in vitro models of prion disease. Exposure to manganese significantly increased PrP(C) levels both in cytosolic and in membrane-rich fractions in a time-dependent manner. Manganese-induced PrP(C) upregulation was independent of messenger RNA transcription or stability. Additionally, manganese treatment did not alter the PrP(C) degradation by either proteasomal or lysosomal pathways. Interestingly, pulse-chase analysis showed that the PrP(C) turnover rate was significantly altered with manganese treatment, indicating increased stability of PrP(C) with the metal exposure. Limited proteolysis studies with proteinase-K further supported that manganese increases the stability of PrP(C). Incubation of mouse brain slice cultures with manganese also resulted in increased prion protein levels and higher intracellular manganese accumulation. Furthermore, exposure of manganese to an infectious prion cell model, mouse Rocky Mountain Laboratory-infected CAD5 cells, significantly increased prion protein levels. Collectively, our results demonstrate for the first time that divalent metal manganese can alter the stability of prion proteins and suggest that manganese-induced stabilization of prion protein may play a role in prion protein misfolding and prion disease pathogenesis.

A Simple Magnetic Separation Method for High-yield Isolation of Pure Primary Microglia

Journal of Neuroscience Methods. Jan, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21074565

Microglial cells play a dynamic role in the brain beyond their established function of immune surveillance. Activated microglia play key roles in neural development, neuroinflammation, neural repair and neurotoxicity. They are particularly important in several neurodegenerative diseases in which sustained microglial activation contributes to the progression of neurodegenerative processes. Consequently, understanding microglial function in CNS health and disease has become an area of active research in recent years. However, a significant obstacle to progress in this field has been the inherent difficulties in obtaining large amounts of primary microglial cells to routinely perform mechanistic studies and characterize signaling pathways regulating the dynamics of microglial activation. Herein, we describe a novel column-free magnetic separation protocol for high-yield isolation of primary microglia from mouse postnatal mixed glial cultures. The procedure is based on optimized culture conditions that enable high microglial cell densities in confluent mixed glial cultures followed by highly efficient recovery of pure microglia by magnetic separation. The novel column-free magnetic separation system utilizes tetrameric antibody complexes (TAC) with dual specificity for CD11b-PE labeled microglia and dextran magnetic nanoparticles. An FcR blocker (anti-CD16/32) is added to enhance the purity of the microglial separation by preventing non-specific labeling of other cell types. This procedure yields on average >3×10⁶ microglial cells per mouse pup, with a remarkable purity of 97% and recovery of around 87% of microglia from the mixed glial population. Importantly, the microglia obtained by this method are fully functional and respond like cells obtained by conventional isolation techniques.

α-Synuclein Negatively Regulates Protein Kinase Cδ Expression to Suppress Apoptosis in Dopaminergic Neurons by Reducing P300 Histone Acetyltransferase Activity

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Feb, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21307242

We recently demonstrated that protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ), an important member of the novel PKC family, is a key oxidative stress-sensitive kinase that can be activated by caspase-3-dependent proteolytic cleavage to induce dopaminergic neuronal cell death. We now report a novel association between α-synuclein (αsyn), a protein associated with the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease, and PKCδ, in which αsyn negatively modulates the p300- and nuclear factor-κB (NFκB)-dependent transactivation to downregulate proapoptotic kinase PKCδ expression and thereby protects against apoptosis in dopaminergic neuronal cells. Stable expression of human wild-type αsyn at physiological levels in dopaminergic neuronal cells resulted in an isoform-dependent transcriptional suppression of PKCδ expression without changes in the stability of mRNA and protein or DNA methylation. The reduction in PKCδ transcription was mediated, in part, through the suppression of constitutive NFκB activity targeted at two proximal PKCδ promoter κB sites. This occurred independently of NFκB/IκBα (inhibitor of κBα) nuclear translocation but was associated with decreased NFκB-p65 acetylation. Also, αsyn reduced p300 levels and its HAT (histone acetyltransferase) activity, thereby contributing to diminished PKCδ transactivation. Importantly, reduced PKCδ and p300 expression also were observed within nigral dopaminergic neurons in αsyn-transgenic mice. These findings expand the role of αsyn in neuroprotection by modulating the expression of the key proapoptotic kinase PKCδ in dopaminergic neurons.

Phytic Acid Protects Against 6-Hydroxydopamine-Induced Dopaminergic Neuron Apoptosis in Normal and Iron Excess Conditions in a Cell Culture Model

Parkinson's Disease. Feb, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21331377

Iron may play an important role in Parkinson's disease (PD) since it can induce oxidative stress-dependent neurodegeneration. The objective of this study was to determine whether the iron chelator, phytic acid (IP6) can protect against 6-hydroxydopamine- (6-OHDA-) induced apoptosis in immortalized rat mesencephalic dopaminergic cells under normal and iron-excess conditions. Caspase-3 activity was increased about 6-fold after 6-OHDA treatment (compared to control; P < .001) and 30 μmol/L IP6 pretreatment decreased it by 38% (P < .05). Similarly, a 63% protection (P < .001) against 6-OHDA induced DNA fragmentation was observed with IP6 pretreatment. Under iron-excess condition, a 6-fold increase in caspase-3 activity (P < .001) and a 42% increase in DNA fragmentation (P < .05) with 6-OHDA treatment were decreased by 41% (P < .01) and 27% (P < .05), respectively, with 30 μmol/L IP6. Together, our data suggest that IP6 protects against 6-OHDA-induced cell apoptosis in both normal and iron-excess conditions, and IP6 may offer neuroprotection in PD.

Transcriptional Regulation of Pro-apoptotic Protein Kinase Cdelta: Implications for Oxidative Stress-induced Neuronal Cell Death

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21467032

We previously demonstrated that protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ; PKC delta) is an oxidative stress-sensitive kinase that plays a causal role in apoptotic cell death in neuronal cells. Although PKCδ activation has been extensively studied, relatively little is known about the molecular mechanisms controlling PKCδ expression. To characterize the regulation of PKCδ expression, we cloned an ∼2-kbp 5'-promoter segment of the mouse Prkcd gene. Deletion analysis indicated that the noncoding exon 1 region contained multiple Sp sites, including four GC boxes and one CACCC box, which directed the highest levels of transcription in neuronal cells. In addition, an upstream regulatory region containing adjacent repressive and anti-repressive elements with opposing regulatory activities was identified within the region -712 to -560. Detailed mutagenesis studies revealed that each Sp site made a positive contribution to PKCδ promoter expression. Overexpression of Sp family proteins markedly stimulated PKCδ promoter activity without any synergistic transactivating effect. Furthermore, experiments in Sp-deficient SL2 cells indicated long isoform Sp3 as the essential activator of PKCδ transcription. Importantly, both PKCδ promoter activity and endogenous PKCδ expression in NIE115 cells and primary striatal cultures were inhibited by mithramycin A. The results from chromatin immunoprecipitation and gel shift assays further confirmed the functional binding of Sp proteins to the PKCδ promoter. Additionally, we demonstrated that overexpression of p300 or CREB-binding protein increases the PKCδ promoter activity. This stimulatory effect requires intact Sp-binding sites and is independent of p300 histone acetyltransferase activity. Finally, modulation of Sp transcriptional activity or protein level profoundly altered the cell death induced by oxidative insult, demonstrating the functional significance of Sp-dependent PKCδ gene expression. Collectively, our findings may have implications for development of new translational strategies against oxidative damage.

PKCδ Inhibition Enhances Tyrosine Hydroxylase Phosphorylation in Mice After Methamphetamine Treatment

Neurochemistry International. Aug, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21672585

The present study was designed to evaluate the specific role of protein kinase C (PKC) δ in methamphetamine (MA)-induced dopaminergic toxicity. A multiple-dose administration regimen of MA significantly increases PKCδ expression, while rottlerin, a PKCδ inhibitor, significantly attenuates MA-induced hyperthermia and behavioral deficits. These behavioral effects were not significantly observed in PKCδ antisense oligonucleotide (ASO)-treated- or PKCδ knockout (-/-)-mice. There were no MA-induced significant decreases of dopamine (DA) content or tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression in the striatum in rottlerin-treated-, ASO-treated- or PKCδ (-/-)-mice. The administration of MA also results in a significant decrease of TH phosphorylation at ser 40, but not ser 31, while the inhibition of PKCδ consistently and significantly attenuates MA-induced reduction in the phosphorylation of TH at ser 40. Therefore, these results suggest that the MA-induced enhancement of PKCδ expression is a critical factor in the impairment of TH phosphorylation at ser 40 and that pharmacological or genetic inhibition of PKCδ may be protective against MA-induced dopaminergic neurotoxicity in vivo.

Protein Kinase D1 (PKD1) Activation Mediates a Compensatory Protective Response During Early Stages of Oxidative Stress-induced Neuronal Degeneration

Molecular Neurodegeneration. Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21696630

Oxidative stress is a key pathophysiological mechanism contributing to degenerative processes in many neurodegenerative diseases and therefore, unraveling molecular mechanisms underlying various stages of oxidative neuronal damage is critical to better understanding the diseases and developing new treatment modalities. We previously showed that protein kinase C delta (PKCδ) proteolytic activation during the late stages of oxidative stress is a key proapoptotic signaling mechanism that contributes to oxidative damage in Parkinson's disease (PD) models. The time course studies revealed that PKCδ activation precedes apoptotic cell death and that cells resisted early insults of oxidative damage, suggesting that some intrinsic compensatory response protects neurons from early oxidative insult. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to characterize protective signaling pathways in dopaminergic neurons during early stages of oxidative stress.

Environmental Neurotoxic Pesticide Dieldrin Activates a Non Receptor Tyrosine Kinase to Promote PKCδ-mediated Dopaminergic Apoptosis in a Dopaminergic Neuronal Cell Model

Neurotoxicology. Oct, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21801747

Oxidative stress and apoptosis are two key pathophysiological mechanisms underlying dopaminergic degeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently, we identified that proteolytic activation of protein kinase C-delta (PKCδ), a member of the novel PKC family, contributes to oxidative stress-induced dopaminergic degeneration and that phosphorylation of tyrosine residue 311 (tyr311) on PKCδ is a key event preceding the PKCδ proteolytic activation during oxidative damage. Herein, we report that a non-receptor tyrosine kinase Fyn is significantly expressed in a dopaminergic neuronal N27 cell model. Exposure of N27 cells to the dopaminergic toxicant dieldrin (60 μM) rapidly activated Fyn kinase, PKCδ-tyr311 phosphorylation and proteolytic cleavage. Fyn kinase activation precedes the caspase-3-mediated proteolytic activation of PKCδ. Pre-treatment with p60-tyrosine-specific kinase inhibitor (TSKI) almost completely attenuated dieldrin-induced phosphorylation of PKCδ-tyr311 and its proteolytic activation. Additionally, TSKI almost completely blocked dieldrin-induced apoptotic cell death. To further confirm Fyn's role in the pro-apoptotic function of PKCδ, we adopted the RNAi approach. siRNA-mediated knockdown of Fyn kinase also effectively attenuated dieldrin-induced phosphorylation of PKCδ-tyr311, caspase-3-mediated PKCδ proteolytic cleavage, and DNA fragmentation, suggesting that Fyn kinase regulates the pro-apoptotic function of PKCδ. Collectively, these results demonstrate for the first time that Fyn kinase is a pro-apoptotic kinase that regulates upstream signaling of the PKCδ-mediated apoptotic cell death pathway in neurotoxicity models of pesticide exposure.

Measurement of Proteasomal Dysfunction in Cell Models of Dopaminergic Degeneration

Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21815074

Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative diseases, which occurs in both inheritable and sporadic forms. The interplay of the genetic mutations and environmental exposure to disease risk factors contributes to the pathogenic events leading to the demise of dopaminergic neurons in PD. Proteasome is one of the major proteolytic machinery responsible for degrading unwanted and damaged intracellular proteins. Emerging evidence implicates the incomplete proteolysis by ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in PD pathogenesis. Proteasome inhibition recapitulates some of the key features of PD in vivo and in vitro. Varieties of dopaminergic neurotoxins emerge to inhibit proteasomal function. Given that some PD-related gene mutations impair proteolytic function of UPS, it has been well-accepted that both genetic and environmental factors may conspire to compromise the UPS in the initiation and progression of the disease. The enzymatic assays for the proteasomal activities with fluorogenic substrates and western blot analysis of ubiquitinated proteins provide an entry point to determine UPS function in the process of dopaminergic degeneration.

Manganese Nanoparticle Activates Mitochondrial Dependent Apoptotic Signaling and Autophagy in Dopaminergic Neuronal Cells

Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. Nov, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21856324

The production of man-made nanoparticles for various modern applications has increased exponentially in recent years, but the potential health effects of most nanoparticles are not well characterized. Unfortunately, in vitro nanoparticle toxicity studies are extremely limited by yet unresolved problems relating to dosimetry. In the present study, we systematically characterized manganese (Mn) nanoparticle sizes and examined the nanoparticle-induced oxidative signaling in dopaminergic neuronal cells. Differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies revealed that Mn nanoparticles range in size from single nanoparticles (~25 nM) to larger agglomerates when in treatment media. Manganese nanoparticles were effectively internalized in N27 dopaminergic neuronal cells, and they induced a time-dependent upregulation of the transporter protein transferrin. Exposure to 25-400 μg/mL Mn nanoparticles induced cell death in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Mn nanoparticles also significantly increased ROS, accompanied by a caspase-mediated proteolytic cleavage of proapoptotic protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ), as well as activation loop phosphorylation. Blocking Mn nanoparticle-induced ROS failed to protect against the neurotoxic effects, suggesting the involvement of other pathways. Further mechanistic studies revealed changes in Beclin 1 and LC3, indicating that Mn nanoparticles induce autophagy. Primary mesencephalic neuron exposure to Mn nanoparticles induced loss of TH positive dopaminergic neurons and neuronal processes. Collectively, our results suggest that Mn nanoparticles effectively enter dopaminergic neuronal cells and exert neurotoxic effects by activating an apoptotic signaling pathway and autophagy, emphasizing the need for assessing possible health risks associated with an increased use of Mn nanoparticles in modern applications.

Infectious Prion Protein Alters Manganese Transport and Neurotoxicity in a Cell Culture Model of Prion Disease

Neurotoxicology. Oct, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21871919

Protein misfolding and aggregation are considered key features of many neurodegenerative diseases, but biochemical mechanisms underlying protein misfolding and the propagation of protein aggregates are not well understood. Prion disease is a classical neurodegenerative disorder resulting from the misfolding of endogenously expressed normal cellular prion protein (PrP(C)). Although the exact function of PrP(C) has not been fully elucidated, studies have suggested that it can function as a metal binding protein. Interestingly, increased brain manganese (Mn) levels have been reported in various prion diseases indicating divalent metals also may play a role in the disease process. Recently, we reported that PrP(C) protects against Mn-induced cytotoxicity in a neural cell culture model. To further understand the role of Mn in prion diseases, we examined Mn neurotoxicity in an infectious cell culture model of prion disease. Our results show CAD5 scrapie-infected cells were more resistant to Mn neurotoxicity as compared to uninfected cells (EC(50)=428.8 μM for CAD5 infected cells vs. 211.6 μM for uninfected cells). Additionally, treatment with 300 μM Mn in persistently infected CAD5 cells showed a reduction in mitochondrial impairment, caspase-3 activation, and DNA fragmentation when compared to uninfected cells. Scrapie-infected cells also showed significantly reduced Mn uptake as measured by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), and altered expression of metal transporting proteins DMT1 and transferrin. Together, our data indicate that conversion of PrP to the pathogenic isoform enhances its ability to regulate Mn homeostasis, and suggest that understanding the interaction of metals with disease-specific proteins may provide further insight to protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases.

Neuroprotective Effect of Resveratrol Against Methamphetamine-induced Dopaminergic Apoptotic Cell Death in a Cell Culture Model of Neurotoxicity

Current Neuropharmacology. Mar, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21886561

A growing body of evidence suggests that oxidative stress-mediated cell death signaling mechanisms may exert neurotoxic effects of methamphetamine (MA)-induced dopaminergic neuronal loss. However, the means by which oxidative stress induced by MA causes neurodegeneration remains unclear. In recent years, resveratrol has garnered considerable attention owing to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and neuroprotective properties. In the present study, we sought to investigate the neuroprotective effects of resveratrol against apoptotic cell death in a mesencephalic dopaminergic neuronal cell culture model of MA neurotoxicity. MA treatment in the N27 dopaminergic neuronal cell model produced a time-dependent activation of the apoptotic cascade involving caspase-3 and DNA fragmentation. We found that the caspase-3 activation preceded DNA fragmentation. Notably, treatment with resveratrol almost completely attenuated MA-induced caspase-3 activity, but only partially reduced apoptotic cell death. We conclude that the neuroprotective effect of resveratrol is at least in part mediated by suppression of caspase-3 dependent cell death pathways. Collectively, our results demonstrate that resveratrol can attenuate MA-induced apoptotic cell death and suggest that resveratrol or its analogs may have therapeutic benefits in mitigating MA-induced dopaminergic neurodegeneration.

Role of Oxidative Stress in Methamphetamine-induced Dopaminergic Toxicity Mediated by Protein Kinase Cδ

Behavioural Brain Research. Jun, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22512859

This study examined the role of protein kinase C (PKC) isozymes in methamphetamine (MA)-induced dopaminergic toxicity. Multiple-dose administration of MA did not significantly alter PKCα, PKCβI, PKCβII, or PKCζ expression in the striatum, but did significantly increase PKCδ expression. Gö6976 (a co-inhibitor of PKCα and -β), hispidin (PKCβ inhibitor), and PKCζ pseudosubstrate inhibitor (PKCζ inhibitor) did not significantly alter MA-induced behavioral impairments. However, rottlerin (PKCδ inhibitor) significantly attenuated behavioral impairments in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, MA-induced behavioral impairments were not apparent in PKCδ knockout (-/-) mice. MA-induced oxidative stress (i.e., lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation) was significantly attenuated in rottlerin-treated mice and was not apparent in PKCδ (-/-) mice. Consistent with this, MA-induced apoptosis (i.e., terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling-positive apoptotic cells) was significantly attenuated in rottlerin-treated mice. Furthermore, MA-induced increases in the dopamine (DA) turnover rate and decreases in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) activity and the expression of TH, dopamine transporter (DAT), and vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) were not significantly observed in rottlerin-treated or PKCδ (-/-) mice. Our results suggest that PKCδ gene expression is a key mediator of oxidative stress and dopaminergic damage induced by MA. Thus, inhibition of PKCδ may be a useful target for protection against MA-induced neurotoxicity.

Proteolytic Activation of Proapoptotic Kinase Protein Kinase Cδ by Tumor Necrosis Factor α Death Receptor Signaling in Dopaminergic Neurons During Neuroinflammation

Journal of Neuroinflammation. Apr, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22540228

The mechanisms of progressive dopaminergic neuronal loss in Parkinson's disease (PD) remain poorly understood, largely due to the complex etiology and multifactorial nature of disease pathogenesis. Several lines of evidence from human studies and experimental models over the last decade have identified neuroinflammation as a potential pathophysiological mechanism contributing to disease progression. Tumor necrosis factor α (TNF) has recently emerged as the primary neuroinflammatory mediator that can elicit dopaminergic cell death in PD. However, the signaling pathways by which TNF mediates dopaminergic cell death have not been completely elucidated.

Alterations in Bioenergetic Function Induced by Parkinson's Disease Mimetic Compounds: Lack of Correlation with Superoxide Generation

Journal of Neurochemistry. Sep, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22708893

In vitro and in vivo models of Parkinson's disease (PD) suggest that increased oxidant production leads to mitochondrial dysfunction in dopaminergic neurons and subsequent cell death. However, it remains unclear if cell death in these models is caused by inhibition of mitochondrial function or oxidant production. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidant production in response to multiple PD neurotoxicant mimetics. MPP(+) caused a dose-dependent decrease in the basal oxygen consumption rate in dopaminergic N27 cells, indicating a loss of mitochondrial function. In parallel, we found that MPP(+) only modestly increased oxidation of hydroethidine as a diagnostic marker of superoxide production in these cells. Similar results were found using rotenone as a mitochondrial inhibitor, or 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) as a mechanistically distinct PD neurotoxicant, but not with exposure to paraquat. In addition, the extracellular acidification rate, used as a marker of glycolysis, was stimulated to compensate for oxygen consumption rate inhibition after exposure to MPP(+), rotenone, or 6-OHDA, but not paraquat. Together these data indicate that MPP(+), rotenone, and 6-OHDA dramatically shift bioenergetic function away from the mitochondria and towards glycolysis in N27 cells.

Guidelines for the Use and Interpretation of Assays for Monitoring Autophagy

Autophagy. Apr, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22966490

In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.

Anti-inflammatory and Neuroprotective Effects of an Orally Active Apocynin Derivative in Pre-clinical Models of Parkinson's Disease

Journal of Neuroinflammation. Oct, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23092448

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive motor debilitation, which affects several million people worldwide. Recent evidence suggests that glial cell activation and its inflammatory response may contribute to the progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in PD. Currently, there are no neuroprotective agents available that can effectively slow the disease progression. Herein, we evaluated the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant efficacy of diapocynin, an oxidative metabolite of the naturally occurring agent apocynin, in a pre-clinical 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model of PD.

Diapocynin Prevents Early Parkinson's Disease Symptoms in the Leucine-rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2R¹⁴⁴¹G) Transgenic Mouse

Neuroscience Letters. Aug, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23721786

The most prominent mechanism proposed for death of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease (PD) is elevated generation of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species (ROS/RNS). Recent studies suggest that ROS produced during PD pathogenesis may contribute to cytotoxicity in cell culture models of PD. We hypothesized that inhibition of ROS production would prevent PD symptoms in the LRRK2(R1441G) transgenic (tg) mouse model of PD. These mice overexpress a mutant form of leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) and are reported to develop PD-like symptoms at approximately 10 months of age. Despite similar expression of the transgene, our colony did not recapitulate the same type of motor dysfunction originally reported. However, tests of motor coordination (pole test, Rotor-Rod) revealed a significant defect in LRRK2(R1441G) mice by 16 months of age. LRRK2(R1441G) tg mice, or wild type littermates, were given diapocynin (200mg/kg, a proposed NADPH oxidase inhibitor) three times per week by oral gavage starting at 12 weeks of age. Decreased performance on the pole test and Rotor-Rod in the LRRK2(R1441G) mice was prevented with diapocynin treatment. No loss in open field movement or rearing was found. As expected, tyrosine hydroxylase staining was similar in both the substantia nigra and striatum in all treatment groups. Together these data demonstrate that diapocynin is a viable agent for protection of neurobehavioral function.

The Peptidyl-prolyl Isomerase Pin1 Up-regulation and Proapoptotic Function in Dopaminergic Neurons: Relevance to the Pathogenesis of Parkinson Disease

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jul, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23754278

Parkinson disease (PD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease characterized by a slow and progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra. The pathophysiological mechanisms underlying PD remain unclear. Pin1, a major peptidyl-prolyl isomerase, has recently been associated with certain diseases. Notably, Ryo et al. (Ryo, A., Togo, T., Nakai, T., Hirai, A., Nishi, M., Yamaguchi, A., Suzuki, K., Hirayasu, Y., Kobayashi, H., Perrem, K., Liou, Y. C., and Aoki, I. (2006) J. Biol. Chem. 281, 4117-4125) implicated Pin1 in PD pathology. Therefore, we sought to systematically characterize the role of Pin1 in PD using cell culture and animal models. To our surprise we observed a dramatic up-regulation of Pin1 mRNA and protein levels in dopaminergic MN9D neuronal cells treated with the parkinsonian toxicant 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+)) as well as in the substantia nigra of the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced PD mouse model. Notably, a marked expression of Pin1 was also observed in the substantia nigra of human PD brains along with a high co-localization of Pin1 within dopaminergic neurons. In functional studies, siRNA-mediated knockdown of Pin1 almost completely prevented MPP(+)-induced caspase-3 activation and DNA fragmentation, indicating that Pin1 plays a proapoptotic role. Interestingly, multiple pharmacological Pin1 inhibitors, including juglone, attenuated MPP(+)-induced Pin1 up-regulation, α-synuclein aggregation, caspase-3 activation, and cell death. Furthermore, juglone treatment in the MPTP mouse model of PD suppressed Pin1 levels and improved locomotor deficits, dopamine depletion, and nigral dopaminergic neuronal loss. Collectively, our findings demonstrate for the first time that Pin1 is up-regulated in PD and has a pathophysiological role in the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system and suggest that modulation of Pin1 levels may be a useful translational therapeutic strategy in PD.

Mitochondria-targeted Antioxidants for Treatment of Parkinson's Disease: Preclinical and Clinical Outcomes

Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta. Aug, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24060637

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease in the elderly, and no cure or disease-modifying therapies exist. Several lines of evidence suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress have a central role in the dopaminergic neurodegeneration of Parkinson's disease. In this context, mitochondria-targeted therapies that improve mitochondrial function may have great promise in the prevention and treatment of Parkinson's disease. In this review, we discuss the recent developments in mitochondria-targeted antioxidants and their potential beneficial effects as a therapy for ameliorating mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson's disease.

Vanadium Exposure Induces Olfactory Dysfunction in an Animal Model of Metal Neurotoxicity

Neurotoxicology. Jul, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24362016

Epidemiological evidence indicates chronic environmental exposure to transition metals may play a role in chronic neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease (PD). Chronic inhalation exposure to welding fumes containing metal mixtures may be associated with development of PD. A significant amount of vanadium is present in welding fumes, as vanadium pentoxide (V2O5), and incorporation of vanadium in the production of high strength steel has become more common. Despite the increased vanadium use in recent years, the neurotoxicological effects of this metal are not well characterized. Recently, we demonstrated that V2O5 induces dopaminergic neurotoxicity via protein kinase C delta (PKCδ)-dependent oxidative signaling mechanisms in dopaminergic neuronal cells. Since anosmia (inability to perceive odors) and non-motor deficits are considered to be early symptoms of neurological diseases, in the present study, we examined the effect of V2O5 on the olfactory bulb in animal models. To mimic the inhalation exposure, we intranasally administered C57 black mice a low-dose of 182μg of V2O5 three times a week for one month, and behavioral, neurochemical and biochemical studies were performed. Our results revealed a significant decrease in olfactory bulb weights, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) levels, levels of dopamine (DA) and its metabolite, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and increases in astroglia of the glomerular layer of the olfactory bulb in the treatment groups relative to vehicle controls. Neurochemical changes were accompanied by impaired olfaction and locomotion. These findings suggest that nasal exposure to V2O5 adversely affects olfactory bulbs, resulting in neurobehavioral and neurochemical impairments. These results expand our understanding of vanadium neurotoxicity in environmentally-linked neurological conditions.

Role of Proteolytic Activation of Protein Kinase Cδ in the Pathogenesis of Prion Disease

Prion. Jan-Feb, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24576946

Prion diseases are infectious and inevitably fatal neurodegenerative diseases characterized by prion replication, widespread protein aggregation and spongiform degeneration of major brain regions controlling motor function. Oxidative stress has been implicated in prion-related neuronal degeneration, but the molecular mechanisms underlying prion-induced oxidative damage are not well understood. In this study, we evaluated the role of oxidative stress-sensitive, pro-apoptotic protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ) in prion-induced neuronal cell death using cerebellar organotypic slice cultures (COSC) and mouse models of prion diseases. We found a significant upregulation of PKCδ in RML scrapie-infected COSC, as evidenced by increased levels of both PKCδ protein and its mRNA. We also found an enhanced regulatory phosphorylation of PKCδ at its two regulatory sites, Thr505 in the activation loop and Tyr311 at the caspase-3 cleavage site. The prion infection also induced proteolytic activation of PKCδ in our COSC model. Immunohistochemical analysis of scrapie-infected COSC revealed loss of PKCδ positive Purkinje cells and enhanced astrocyte proliferation. Further examination of PKCδ signaling in the RML scrapie adopted in vivo mouse model showed increased proteolytic cleavage and Tyr 311 phosphorylation of the kinase. Notably, we observed a delayed onset of scrapie-induced motor symptoms in PKCδ knockout (PKCδ(-/-)) mice as compared with wild-type (PKCδ(+/+)) mice, further substantiating the role of PKCδ in prion disease. Collectively, these data suggest that PKCδ signaling likely plays a role in the neurodegenerative processes associated with prion diseases.

Protein Kinase D1 (PKD1) Phosphorylation Promotes Dopaminergic Neuronal Survival During 6-OHDA-induced Oxidative Stress

PloS One. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24806360

Oxidative stress is a major pathophysiological mediator of degenerative processes in many neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease (PD). Aberrant cell signaling governed by protein phosphorylation has been linked to oxidative damage of dopaminergic neurons in PD. Although several studies have associated activation of certain protein kinases with apoptotic cell death in PD, very little is known about protein kinase regulation of cell survival and protection against oxidative damage and degeneration in dopaminergic neurons. Here, we characterized the PKD1-mediated protective pathway against oxidative damage in cell culture models of PD. Dopaminergic neurotoxicant 6-hydroxy dopamine (6-OHDA) was used to induce oxidative stress in the N27 dopaminergic cell model and in primary mesencephalic neurons. Our results indicated that 6-OHDA induced the PKD1 activation loop (PKD1S744/S748) phosphorylation during early stages of oxidative stress and that PKD1 activation preceded cell death. We also found that 6-OHDA rapidly increased phosphorylation of the C-terminal S916 in PKD1, which is required for PKD1 activation loop (PKD1S744/748) phosphorylation. Interestingly, negative modulation of PKD1 activation by RNAi knockdown or by the pharmacological inhibition of PKD1 by kbNB-14270 augmented 6-OHDA-induced apoptosis, while positive modulation of PKD1 by the overexpression of full length PKD1 (PKD1WT) or constitutively active PKD1 (PKD1S744E/S748E) attenuated 6-OHDA-induced apoptosis, suggesting an anti-apoptotic role for PKD1 during oxidative neuronal injury. Collectively, our results demonstrate that PKD1 signaling plays a cell survival role during early stages of oxidative stress in dopaminergic neurons and therefore, positive modulation of the PKD1-mediated signal transduction pathway can provide a novel neuroprotective strategy against PD.

A Novel Mitochondrially-targeted Apocynin Derivative Prevents Hyposmia and Loss of Motor Function in the Leucine-rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2(R1441G)) Transgenic Mouse Model of Parkinson's Disease

Neuroscience Letters. Nov, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25263790

Recently, we demonstrated that dimeric apocynin prevented loss of motor function in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2(R1441G)) transgenic (tg) mouse (treated with 200mg/kg, three times per week) [B.P. Dranka et al., Neurosci. Lett. 549 (2013) 57-62]. Here we extend those studies by treating LRRK2(R1441G) mice with an orally-available, mitochondrially-targeted apocynin derivative. We hypothesized that the increased mitochondrial permeability of Mito-apocynin, due to the triphenylphosphonium moiety, would allow improvement of Parkinson's disease (PD) symptoms at lower doses than those required for diapocynin. Tests of motor coordination (pole test, Rotor-Rod) revealed a significant deficit in coordinated motor function in LRRK2(R1441G) mice by 15 months of age. Decreased performance on the pole test and Rotor-Rod in the LRRK2(R1441G) mice was prevented with Mito-apocynin treatment (3mg/kg, three times per week). Decreased olfactory function is an early indication of PD in human patients. LRRK2(R1441G) tg mice displayed deficits in sense of smell in both the hidden treat test, and a radial arm maze test. Interestingly, treatment with Mito-apocynin prevented this hyposmia, and animals retained normal ability to identify either a scented treat or a food pellet as well as wild type littermates. Together, these data demonstrate that the mitochondria-targeted apocynin analog is effective in preventing early PD-like symptoms in the LRRK2(R1441G) mouse model.

Histone Hyperacetylation Up-regulates Protein Kinase Cδ in Dopaminergic Neurons to Induce Cell Death: Relevance to Epigenetic Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration in Parkinson Disease

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Dec, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25342743

The oxidative stress-sensitive protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ) has been implicated in dopaminergic neuronal cell death. However, little is known about the epigenetic mechanisms regulating PKCδ expression in neurons. Here, we report a novel mechanism by which the PKCδ gene can be regulated by histone acetylation. Treatment with histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor sodium butyrate (NaBu) induced PKCδ expression in cultured neurons, brain slices, and animal models. Several other HDAC inhibitors also mimicked NaBu. The chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that hyperacetylation of histone H4 by NaBu is associated with the PKCδ promoter. Deletion analysis of the PKCδ promoter mapped the NaBu-responsive element to an 81-bp minimal promoter region. Detailed mutagenesis studies within this region revealed that four GC boxes conferred hyperacetylation-induced PKCδ promoter activation. Cotransfection experiments and Sp inhibitor studies demonstrated that Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4 regulated NaBu-induced PKCδ up-regulation. However, NaBu did not alter the DNA binding activities of Sp proteins or their expression. Interestingly, a one-hybrid analysis revealed that NaBu enhanced transcriptional activity of Sp1/Sp3. Overexpression of the p300/cAMP-response element-binding protein-binding protein (CBP) potentiated the NaBu-mediated transactivation potential of Sp1/Sp3, but expressing several HDACs attenuated this effect, suggesting that p300/CBP and HDACs act as coactivators or corepressors in histone acetylation-induced PKCδ up-regulation. Finally, using genetic and pharmacological approaches, we showed that NaBu up-regulation of PKCδ sensitizes neurons to cell death in a human dopaminergic cell model and brain slice cultures. Together, these results indicate that histone acetylation regulates PKCδ expression to augment nigrostriatal dopaminergic cell death, which could contribute to the progressive neuropathogenesis of Parkinson disease.

In Vitro Amplification of Scrapie and Chronic Wasting Disease PrP(res) Using Baculovirus-expressed Recombinant PrP As Substrate

Prion. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25495764

Protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) is an in vitro simulation of prion replication, which relies on the use of normal brain homogenate derived from host species as substrate for the specific amplification of abnormal prion protein, PrP(Sc). Studies showed that recombinant cellular PrP, PrP(C), expressed in Escherichia coli lacks N-glycosylation and an glycophosphatidyl inositol anchor (GPI) and therefore may not be the most suitable substrate in seeded PMCA reactions to recapitulate prion conversion in vitro. In this study, we expressed 2 PRNP genotypes of sheep, V136L141R154Q171 and A136F141R154Q171, and one genotype of white-tailed deer (Q95G96, X132,Y216) using the baculovirus expression system and evaluated their suitability as substrates in seeded-PMCA. It has been reported that host-encoded mammalian RNA molecules and divalent cations play a role in the pathogenesis of prion diseases, and RNA molecules have also been shown to improve the sensitivity of PMCA assays. Therefore, we also assessed the effect of co-factors, such as prion-specific mRNA molecules and a divalent cation, manganese, on protein conversion. Here, we report that baculovirus-expressed recombinant PrP(C) shows a glycoform and GPI-anchor profile similar to mammalian brain-derived PrP(C) and supports amplification of PrP(Sc) and PrP(CWD) derived from prion-affected animals in a single round of seeded PMCA in the absence of exogenous co-factors. Addition of species-specific in vitro transcribed PrP mRNA molecules stimulated the conversion efficiency resulting in increased PrP(Sc) or PrP(CWD) production. Addition of 2 to 20 μM of manganese chloride (MnCl2) to unseeded PMCA resulted in conversion of recombinant PrP(C) to protease-resistant PrP. Collectively, we demonstrate, for the first time, that baculovirus expressed sheep and deer PrP can serve as a substrate in protein misfolding cyclic amplification for sheep and deer prions in the absence of additional exogenous co-factors.

α-Synuclein Protects Against Manganese Neurotoxic Insult During the Early Stages of Exposure in a Dopaminergic Cell Model of Parkinson's Disease

Toxicological Sciences : an Official Journal of the Society of Toxicology. Feb, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25416158

The pathological role of α-synuclein (α-Syn) aggregation in neurodegeneration is well recognized, but the physiological function of normal α-Syn remains unknown. As α-Syn protein contains multiple divalent metal binding sites, herein we conducted a comprehensive characterization of the role of α-Syn in manganese-induced dopaminergic neurotoxicity. We established transgenic N27 dopaminergic neuronal cells by stably expressing human wild-type α-Syn at normal physiological levels. α-Syn-expressing dopaminergic cells significantly attenuated Mn-induced neurotoxicity for 24-h exposures relative to vector control cells. To further explore cellular mechanisms, we studied the mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway. Analysis of a key mitochondrial apoptotic initiator, cytochrome c, revealed that α-Syn significantly reduces the Mn-induced cytochrome c release into cytosol. The downstream caspase cascade, involving caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation, during Mn exposure was also largely attenuated in Mn-treated α-Syn cells in a time-dependent manner. α-Syn cells also showed a dramatic reduction in the Mn-induced proteolytic activation of the pro-apoptotic kinase PKCδ. The generation of Mn-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) did not differ between α-Syn and vector control cells, indicating that α-Syn exerts its protective effect independent of altering ROS generation. Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) revealed no significant differences in intracellular Mn levels between treated vector and α-Syn cells. Notably, the expression of wild-type α-Syn in primary mesencephalic cells also rescued cells from Mn-induced neurotoxicity. However, prolonged exposure to Mn promoted protein aggregation in α-Syn-expressing cells. Collectively, these results demonstrate that wild-type α-Syn exhibits neuroprotective effects against Mn-induced neurotoxicity during the early stages of exposure in a dopaminergic neuronal model of PD.

Nanoneuromedicines for Degenerative, Inflammatory, and Infectious Nervous System Diseases

Nanomedicine : Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine. Apr, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25645958

Interest in nanoneuromedicine has grown rapidly due to the immediate need for improved biomarkers and therapies for psychiatric, developmental, traumatic, inflammatory, infectious and degenerative nervous system disorders. These, in whole or in part, are a significant societal burden due to growth in numbers of affected people and in disease severity. Lost productivity of the patient and his or her caregiver, and the emotional and financial burden cannot be overstated. The need for improved health care, treatment and diagnostics is immediate. A means to such an end is nanotechnology. Indeed, recent developments of health-care enabling nanotechnologies and nanomedicines range from biomarker discovery including neuroimaging to therapeutic applications for degenerative, inflammatory and infectious disorders of the nervous system. This review focuses on the current and future potential of the field to positively affect clinical outcomes. From the clinical editor: Many nervous system disorders remain unresolved clinical problems. In many cases, drug agents simply cannot cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) into the nervous system. The advent of nanomedicines can enhance the delivery of biologically active molecules for targeted therapy and imaging. This review focused on the use of nanotechnology for degenerative, inflammatory, and infectious diseases in the nervous system.

Fyn Kinase Regulates Microglial Neuroinflammatory Responses in Cell Culture and Animal Models of Parkinson's Disease

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Jul, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26157004

Sustained neuroinflammation mediated by resident microglia is recognized as a key pathophysiological contributor to many neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease (PD), but the key molecular signaling events regulating persistent microglial activation have yet to be clearly defined. In the present study, we examined the role of Fyn, a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, in microglial activation and neuroinflammatory mechanisms in cell culture and animal models of PD. The well-characterized inflammogens LPS and TNFα rapidly activated Fyn kinase in microglia. Immunocytochemical studies revealed that activated Fyn preferentially localized to the microglial plasma membrane periphery and the nucleus. Furthermore, activated Fyn phosphorylated PKCδ at tyrosine residue 311, contributing to an inflammogen-induced increase in its kinase activity. Notably, the Fyn-PKCδ signaling axis further activated the LPS- and TNFα-induced MAP kinase phosphorylation and activation of the NFκB pathway, implying that Fyn is a major upstream regulator of proinflammatory signaling. Functional studies in microglia isolated from wild-type (Fyn(+/+)) and Fyn knock-out (Fyn(-/-)) mice revealed that Fyn is required for proinflammatory responses, including cytokine release as well as iNOS activation. Interestingly, a prolonged inflammatory insult induced Fyn transcript and protein expression, indicating that Fyn is upregulated during chronic inflammatory conditions. Importantly, in vivo studies using MPTP, LPS, or 6-OHDA models revealed a greater attenuation of neuroinflammatory responses in Fyn(-/-) and PKCδ (-/-) mice compared with wild-type mice. Collectively, our data demonstrate that Fyn is a major upstream signaling mediator of microglial neuroinflammatory processes in PD.

Molecular Cloning, Epigenetic Regulation, and Functional Characterization of Prkd1 Gene Promoter in Dopaminergic Cell Culture Models of Parkinson's Disease

Journal of Neurochemistry. Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26230914

We recently identified a compensatory survival role for protein kinase D1 (PKD1) in protecting dopaminergic neurons from oxidative insult. To investigate the molecular mechanism of Prkd1 gene expression, we cloned the 5'-flanking region (1620-bp) of the mouse Prkd1 gene. Deletion analyses revealed that the -250/+113 promoter region contains full promoter activity in MN9D dopaminergic neuronal cells. In silico analysis of the Prkd1 promoter uncovered binding sites for key redox transcription factors including Sp1 and NF-κB. Over-expression of Sp1, Sp3, and NF-κB-p65 proteins stimulated Prkd1 promoter activity. Binding of Sp3 and NF-κB-p65 to the Prkd1 promoter was confirmed using chromatin immunoprecipitation. Treatment with the Sp inhibitor mithramycin A significantly attenuated Prkd1 promoter activity and PKD1 mRNA and protein expression. Further mechanistic studies revealed that inhibition of histone deacetylation and DNA methylation up-regulated PKD1 mRNA expression. Importantly, negative modulation of PKD1 signaling by pharmacological inhibition or shRNA knockdown increased dopaminergic neuronal sensitivity to oxidative damage in a human mesencephalic neuronal cell model. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that Sp1, Sp3, and NF-κB-p65 can transactivate the mouse Prkd1 promoter and that epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation and histone modification, are key regulatory events controlling the expression of pro-survival kinase PKD1 in dopaminergic neuronal cells. Previously, we demonstrated that protein kinase D1 (PKD1) plays a survival role during the early stage of oxidative stress in dopaminergic neuronal cells.

Nano-enabled Delivery of Diverse Payloads Across Complex Biological Barriers

Journal of Controlled Release : Official Journal of the Controlled Release Society. Dec, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26315817

Complex biological barriers are major obstacles for preventing and treating disease. Nanocarriers are designed to overcome such obstacles by enhancing drug delivery through physiochemical barriers and improving therapeutic indices. This review critically examines both biological barriers and nanocarrier payloads for a variety of drug delivery applications. A spectrum of nanocarriers is discussed that have been successfully developed for improving tissue penetration for preventing or treating a range of infectious, inflammatory, and degenerative diseases.

EGCG Protects Against 6-OHDA-Induced Neurotoxicity in a Cell Culture Model

Parkinson's Disease. 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26770869

Background. Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes severe brain dopamine depletion. Disruption of iron metabolism may be involved in the PD progression. Objective. To test the protective effect of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) against 6-hydroxydopamine- (6-OHDA-) induced neurotoxicity by regulating iron metabolism in N27 cells. Methods. Protection by EGCG in N27 cells was assessed by SYTOX green assay, MTT, and caspase-3 activity. Iron regulatory gene and protein expression were measured by RT-PCR and Western blotting. Intracellular iron uptake was measured using (55)Fe. The EGCG protection was further tested in primary mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons by immunocytochemistry. Results. EGCG protected against 6-OHDA-induced cell toxicity. 6-OHDA treatment significantly (p < 0.05) increased divalent metal transporter-1 (DMT1) and hepcidin and decreased ferroportin 1 (Fpn1) level, whereas pretreatment with EGCG counteracted the effects. The increased (55)Fe (by 96%, p < 0.01) cell uptake confirmed the iron burden by 6-OHDA and was reduced by EGCG by 27% (p < 0.05), supporting the DMT1 results. Pretreatment with EGCG and 6-OHDA significantly increased (p < 0.0001) TH(+) cell count (~3-fold) and neurite length (~12-fold) compared to 6-OHDA alone in primary mesencephalic neurons. Conclusions. Pretreatment with EGCG protected against 6-OHDA-induced neurotoxicity by regulating genes and proteins involved in brain iron homeostasis, especially modulating hepcidin levels.

Alterations in Mitochondrial Dynamics Induced by Tebufenpyrad and Pyridaben in a Dopaminergic Neuronal Cell Culture Model

Neurotoxicology. Mar, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26141520

Tebufenpyrad and pyridaben are two agro-chemically important acaricides that function like the known mitochondrial toxicant rotenone. Although these two compounds have been commonly used to kill populations of mites and ticks in commercial greenhouses, their neurotoxic profiles remain largely unknown. Therefore, we investigated the effects of these two pesticides on mitochondrial structure and function in an in vitro cell culture model using the Seahorse bioanalyzer and confocal fluorescence imaging. The effects were compared with rotenone. Exposing rat dopaminergic neuronal cells (N27 cells) to tebufenpyrad and pyridaben for 3h induced dose-dependent cell death with an EC50 of 3.98μM and 3.77μM, respectively. Also, tebufenpyrad and pyridaben (3μM) exposure induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and m-aconitase damage, suggesting that the pesticide toxicity is associated with oxidative damage. Morphometric image analysis with the MitoTracker red fluorescent probe indicated that tebufenpyrad and pyridaben, as well as rotenone, caused abnormalities in mitochondrial morphology, including reduced mitochondrial length and circularity. Functional bioenergetic experiments using the Seahorse XF96 analyzer revealed that tebufenpyrad and pyridaben very rapidly suppressed the basal mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate similar to that of rotenone. Further analysis of bioenergetic curves also revealed dose-dependent decreases in ATP-linked respiration and respiratory capacity. The luminescence-based ATP measurement further confirmed that pesticide-induced mitochondrial inhibition of respiration is accompanied by the loss of cellular ATP. Collectively, our results suggest that exposure to the pesticides tebufenpyrad and pyridaben induces neurotoxicity by rapidly initiating mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage in dopaminergic neuronal cells. Our findings also reveal that monitoring the kinetics of mitochondrial respiration with Seahorse could be used as an early neurotoxicological high-throughput index for assessing the risk that pesticides pose to the dopaminergic neuronal system.

Guidelines for the Use and Interpretation of Assays for Monitoring Autophagy (3rd Edition)

Autophagy. Jan, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26799652

Mitoapocynin Treatment Protects Against Neuroinflammation and Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration in a Preclinical Animal Model of Parkinson's Disease

Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology : the Official Journal of the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology. Jun, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26838361

Mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and neuroinflammation have been implicated as key mediators contributing to the progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease (PD). Currently, we lack a pharmacological agent that can intervene in all key pathological mechanisms, which would offer better neuroprotective efficacy than a compound that targets a single degenerative mechanism. Herein, we investigated whether mito-apocynin (Mito-Apo), a newly-synthesized and orally available derivative of apocynin that targets mitochondria, protects against oxidative damage, glial-mediated inflammation and nigrostriatal neurodegeneration in cellular and animal models of PD. Mito-Apo treatment in primary mesencephalic cultures significantly attenuated the 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+))-induced loss of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neuronal cells and neurites. Mito-Apo also diminished MPP(+)-induced increases in glial cell activation and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression. Additionally, Mito-Apo decreased nitrotyrosine (3-NT) and 4-hydroxynonenol (4-HNE) levels in primary mesencephalic cultures. Importantly, we assessed the neuroprotective property of Mito-Apo in the MPTP mouse model of PD, wherein it restored the behavioral performance of MPTP-treated mice. Immunohistological analysis of nigral dopaminergic neurons and monoamine measurement further confirmed the neuroprotective effect of Mito-Apo against MPTP-induced nigrostriatal dopaminergic neuronal loss. Mito-Apo showed excellent brain bioavailability and also markedly attenuated MPTP-induced oxidative markers in the substantia nigra (SN). Furthermore, oral administration of Mito-Apo significantly suppressed MPTP-induced glial cell activation, upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines, iNOS and gp91phox in IBA1-positive cells of SN. Collectively, these results demonstrate that the novel mitochondria-targeted compound Mito-Apo exhibits profound neuroprotective effects in cellular and pre-clinical animal models of PD by attenuating oxidative damage and neuroinflammatory processes.

Protein Kinase Cδ Upregulation in Microglia Drives Neuroinflammatory Responses and Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration in Experimental Models of Parkinson's Disease

Neurobiology of Disease. Sep, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27151770

Chronic microglial activation has been linked to the progressive degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons evidenced in Parkinson's disease (PD) pathogenesis. The exact etiology of PD remains poorly understood. Although both oxidative stress and neuroinflammation are identified as co-contributors in PD pathogenesis, signaling mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative processes have yet to be defined. Indeed, we recently identified that protein kinase C delta (PKCδ) activation is critical for induction of dopaminergic neuronal loss in response to neurotoxic stressors. However, it remains to be defined whether PKCδ activation contributes to immune signaling events driving microglial neurotoxicity. In the present study, we systematically investigated whether PKCδ contributes to the heightened microglial activation response following exposure to major proinflammatory stressors, including α-synuclein, tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We report that exposure to the aforementioned inflammatory stressors dramatically upregulated PKCδ with a concomitant increase in its kinase activity and nuclear translocation in both BV-2 microglial cells and primary microglia. Importantly, we also observed a marked upregulation of PKCδ in the microglia of the ventral midbrain region of PD patients when compared to age-matched controls, suggesting a role for microglial PKCδ in neurodegenerative processes. Further, shRNA-mediated knockdown and genetic ablation of PKCδ in primary microglia blunted the microglial proinflammatory response elicited by the inflammogens, including ROS generation, nitric oxide production, and proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine release. Importantly, we found that PKCδ activated NFκB, a key mediator of inflammatory signaling events, after challenge with inflammatory stressors, and that transactivation of NFκB led to translocation of the p65 subunit to the nucleus, IκBα degradation and phosphorylation of p65 at Ser536. Furthermore, both genetic ablation and siRNA-mediated knockdown of PKCδ attenuated NFκB activation, suggesting that PKCδ regulates NFκB activation subsequent to microglial exposure to inflammatory stimuli. To further investigate the pivotal role of PKCδ in microglial activation in vivo, we utilized pre-clinical models of PD. We found that PKCδ deficiency attenuated the proinflammatory response in the mouse substantia nigra, reduced locomotor deficits and recovered mice from sickness behavior in an LPS-induced neuroinflammation model of PD. Likewise, we found that PKCδ knockout mice treated with MPTP displayed a dampened microglial inflammatory response. Moreover, PKCδ knockout mice exhibited reduced susceptibility to the neurotoxin-induced dopaminergic neurodegeneration and associated motor impairments. Taken together, our studies propose a pivotal role for PKCδ in PD pathology, whereby sustained PKCδ activation drives sustained microglial inflammatory responses and concomitant dopaminergic neurotoxicity consequently leading to neurobehavioral deficits. We conclude that inhibiting PKCδ activation may represent a novel therapeutic strategy in PD treatment.

Hepcidin Plays a Key Role in 6-OHDA Induced Iron Overload and Apoptotic Cell Death in a Cell Culture Model of Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27298749

Background. Elevated brain iron levels have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the precise mechanism underlying abnormal iron accumulation in PD is not clear. Hepcidin, a hormone primarily produced by hepatocytes, acts as a key regulator in both systemic and cellular iron homeostasis. Objective. We investigated the role of hepcidin in 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) induced apoptosis in a cell culture model of PD. Methods. We downregulated hepcidin using siRNA interference in N27 dopaminergic neuronal cells and made a comparison with control siRNA transfected cells to investigate the role of hepcidin in 6-OHDA induced neurodegeneration. Results. Hepcidin knockdown (32.3%, P < 0.0001) upregulated ferroportin 1 expression and significantly (P < 0.05) decreased intracellular iron by 25%. Hepcidin knockdown also reduced 6-OHDA induced caspase-3 activity by 42% (P < 0.05) and DNA fragmentation by 29% (P = 0.086) and increased cell viability by 22% (P < 0.05). In addition, hepcidin knockdown significantly attenuated 6-OHDA induced protein carbonyls by 52% (P < 0.05) and intracellular iron by 28% (P < 0.01), indicating the role of hepcidin in oxidative stress. Conclusions. Our results demonstrate that hepcidin knockdown protected N27 cells from 6-OHDA induced apoptosis and that hepcidin plays a major role in reducing cellular iron burden and oxidative damage by possibly regulating cellular iron export mediated by ferroportin 1.

Differential Arousal Regulation by Prokineticin 2 Signaling in the Nocturnal Mouse and the Diurnal Monkey

Molecular Brain. Aug, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27535380

The temporal organization of activity/rest or sleep/wake rhythms for mammals is regulated by the interaction of light/dark cycle and circadian clocks. The neural and molecular mechanisms that confine the active phase to either day or night period for the diurnal and the nocturnal mammals are unclear. Here we report that prokineticin 2, previously shown as a circadian clock output molecule, is expressed in the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, and the expression of prokineticin 2 in the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells is oscillatory in a clock-dependent manner. We further show that the prokineticin 2 signaling is required for the activity and arousal suppression by light in the mouse. Between the nocturnal mouse and the diurnal monkey, a signaling receptor for prokineticin 2 is differentially expressed in the retinorecipient suprachiasmatic nucleus and the superior colliculus, brain projection targets of the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. Blockade with a selective antagonist reveals the respectively inhibitory and stimulatory effect of prokineticin 2 signaling on the arousal levels for the nocturnal mouse and the diurnal monkey. Thus, the mammalian diurnality or nocturnality is likely determined by the differential signaling of prokineticin 2 from the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells onto their retinorecipient brain targets.

Prokineticin-2 Upregulation During Neuronal Injury Mediates a Compensatory Protective Response Against Dopaminergic Neuronal Degeneration

Nature Communications. Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27703142

Prokineticin-2 (PK2), a recently discovered secreted protein, regulates important physiological functions including olfactory biogenesis and circadian rhythms in the CNS. Interestingly, although PK2 expression is low in the nigral system, its receptors are constitutively expressed on nigrostriatal neurons. Herein, we demonstrate that PK2 expression is highly induced in nigral dopaminergic neurons during early stages of degeneration in multiple models of Parkinson's disease (PD), including PK2 reporter mice and MitoPark mice. Functional studies demonstrate that PK2 promotes mitochondrial biogenesis and activates ERK and Akt survival signalling pathways, thereby driving neuroprotection. Importantly, PK2 overexpression is protective whereas PK2 receptor antagonism exacerbates dopaminergic degeneration in experimental PD. Furthermore, PK2 expression increased in surviving nigral dopaminergic neurons from PD brains, indicating that PK2 upregulation is clinically relevant to human PD. Collectively, our results identify a paradigm for compensatory neuroprotective PK2 signalling in nigral dopaminergic neurons that could have important therapeutic implications for PD.

Neuronal Protection Against Oxidative Insult by Polyanhydride Nanoparticle-based Mitochondria-targeted Antioxidant Therapy

Nanomedicine : Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine. Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27771430

A progressive loss of neuronal structure and function is a signature of many neurodegenerative conditions including chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's diseases. Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative and nitrative stress have been implicated as key pathological mechanisms underlying the neurodegenerative processes. However, current therapeutic approaches targeting oxidative damage are ineffective in preventing the progression of neurodegeneration. Mitochondria-targeted antioxidants were recently shown to alleviate oxidative damage. In this work, we investigated the delivery of biodegradable polyanhydride nanoparticles containing the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant apocynin to neuronal cells and the ability of the nano-formulation to protect cells against oxidative stress. The nano-formulated mitochondria-targeted apocynin provided excellent protection against oxidative stress-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal damage in a dopaminergic neuronal cell line, mouse primary cortical neurons, and a human mesencephalic cell line. Collectively, our results demonstrate that nano-formulated mitochondria-targeted apocynin may offer improved efficacy of mitochondria-targeted antioxidants to treat neurodegenerative disease.

Role of Neurotoxicants and Traumatic Brain Injury in α-synuclein Protein Misfolding and Aggregation

Brain Research Bulletin. Dec, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27993598

Protein misfolding and aggregation are key pathological features of many neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease (PD) and other forms of human Parkinsonism. PD is a complex and multifaceted disorder whose etiology is not fully understood. However, several lines of evidence support the multiple hit hypothesis that genetic vulnerability and environmental toxicants converge to trigger PD pathology. Alpha-synuclein (α-Syn) aggregation in the brain is an important pathophysiological characteristic of synucleinopathies including PD. Epidemiological and experimental studies have shown that metals and pesticides play a crucial role in α-Syn aggregation leading to the onset of various neurodegenerative diseases including PD. In this review, we will emphasize key findings of several epidemiological as well as experimental studies of metal- and pesticide-induced α-Syn aggregation and neurodegeneration. We will also discuss other factors such as traumatic brain injury and oxidative insult in the context of α-Syn-related neurodegenerative processes.

P73 Gene in Dopaminergic Neurons is Highly Susceptible to Manganese Neurotoxicity

Neurotoxicology. Mar, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 27107493

Chronic exposure to elevated levels of manganese (Mn) has been linked to a Parkinsonian-like movement disorder, resulting from dysfunction of the extrapyramidal motor system within the basal ganglia. However, the exact cellular and molecular mechanisms of Mn-induced neurotoxicity remain elusive. In this study, we treated C57BL/6J mice with 30mg/kg Mn via oral gavage for 30 days. Interestingly, in nigral tissues of Mn-exposed mice, we found a significant downregulation of the truncated isoform of p73 protein at the N-terminus (ΔNp73). To further determine the functional role of Mn-induced p73 downregulation in Mn neurotoxicity, we examined the interrelationship between the effect of Mn on p73 gene expression and apoptotic cell death in an N27 dopaminergic neuronal model. Consistent with our animal study, 300μM Mn treatment significantly suppressed p73 mRNA expression in N27 dopaminergic cells. We further determined that protein levels of the ΔNp73 isoform was also reduced in Mn-treated N27 cells and primary striatal cultures. Furthermore, overexpression of ΔNp73 conferred modest cellular protection against Mn-induced neurotoxicity. Taken together, our results demonstrate that Mn exposure downregulates p73 gene expression resulting in enhanced susceptibility to apoptotic cell death. Thus, further characterization of the cellular mechanism underlying p73 gene downregulation will improve our understanding of the molecular underpinnings of Mn neurotoxicity.

Role of Protein Kinase C in Metabolic Regulation of the Cardiac Na(+) Channel

Heart Rhythm. Mar, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 27989687

The reduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) increases in cardiomyopathy, activates protein kinase C (PKC), up-regulates mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mitoROS), and down-regulates the cardiac Na(+) channel (NaV1.5).

Mito-Apocynin Prevents Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Microglial Activation, Oxidative Damage, and Progressive Neurodegeneration in MitoPark Transgenic Mice

Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. Apr, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28375739

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive motor deficits and degeneration of dopaminergic neurons. Caused by a number of genetic and environmental factors, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress play a role in neurodegeneration in PD. By selectively knocking out mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) in dopaminergic neurons, the transgenic MitoPark mice recapitulate many signature features of the disease, including progressive motor deficits, neuronal loss, and protein inclusions. In the present study, we evaluated the neuroprotective efficacy of a novel mitochondrially targeted antioxidant, Mito-apocynin, in MitoPark mice and cell culture models of neuroinflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Protective Effects of Quercetin Against Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Progressive Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration in Cell Culture and MitoPark Transgenic Mouse Models of Parkinson's Disease

Journal of Neurochemistry. Apr, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28376279

Quercetin, one of the major flavonoids in plants, has been recently reported to have neuroprotective effects against neurodegenerative processes. However, since the molecular signaling mechanisms governing these effects are not well clarified, we evaluated quercetin's effect on the neuroprotective signaling events in dopaminergic neuronal models and further tested its efficacy in the MitoPark transgenic mouse model of Parkinson's disease (PD). Western blotting analysis revealed that quercetin significantly induced the activation of two major cell survival kinases, protein kinase D1 (PKD1) and Akt in MN9D dopaminergic neuronal cells. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition or siRNA knockdown of PKD1 blocked the activation of Akt, suggesting that PKD1 acts as an upstream regulator of Akt in quercetin-mediated neuroprotective signaling. Quercetin also enhanced CREB phosphorylation and expression of the CREB target gene BDNF. Results from qRT-PCR, Western blot analysis, mtDNA content analysis, and MitoTracker assay experiments revealed that quercetin augmented mitochondrial biogenesis. Quercetin also increased mitochondrial bioenergetics capacity and protected MN9D cells against 6-OHDA-induced neurotoxicity. To further evaluate the neuroprotective efficacy of quercetin against the mitochondrial dysfunction underlying PD, we used the progressive dopaminergic neurodegenerative MitoPark transgenic mouse model of PD. Oral administration of quercetin significantly reversed behavioral deficits, striatal dopamine depletion, and TH neuronal cell loss in MitoPark mice. Together, our findings demonstrate that quercetin activates PKD1-Akt cell survival signaling axis and suggest that further exploration of quercetin as a promising neuroprotective agent for treating PD may offer clinical benefits. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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