Author(s): Luo Y, Umegaki H, Wang X, Abe R, Roth GS
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Abstract Dopamine (DA) is a neurotransmitter, but it also exerts a neurotoxic effect under certain pathological conditions, including age-related neurodegeneration such as Parkinson's disease. By using both the 293 cell line and primary neonatal rat postmitotic striatal neuron cultures, we show here that DA induces apoptosis in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Concomitant with the apoptosis, DA activates the JNK pathway, including increases in JNK activity, phosphorylation of c-Jun, and subsequent increase in c-Jun protein. This DA-induced JNK activation precedes apoptosis and is persistently sustained during the process of apoptosis. Transient expression of a dominant negative mutant SEK1(Lys --> Arg), an upstream kinase of JNK, prevents both DA-induced JNK activation and apoptosis. A dominant negative c-Jun mutant FLAGDelta169 also reduces DA-induced apoptotic cell death. Anti-oxidants N-acetylcysteine and catalase, which serve as scavengers of reactive oxygen species generated by metabolic DA oxidation, effectively block DA-induced JNK activation and subsequent apoptosis. Thus, our data suggest that DA triggers an apoptotic death program through an oxidative stress-involved JNK activation signaling pathway. Given the fact that the anti-oxidative defense system declines during aging, this molecular event may be implicated in the age-related striatal neuronal cell loss and age-related dopaminergic neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Neurological Disorders