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FEBS Lett. 2001 Aug 24;504(1-2):50-2.

Nitric oxide enhances MPP(+) inhibition of complex I.

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  • 1University Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK.


There is evidence that 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6 tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) toxicity is mediated through both inhibition of mitochondrial complex I and free radical generation. 7-Nitroindazole protects against MPTP toxicity in vitro and in vivo, and this appears to be related to its inhibition of nitric oxide (NO(*-)) synthase. We now show that the NO(*-) generator, glutathione-N-oxide, enhances the inhibitory action of 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+)) on complex I activity in brain submitochondrial particles. We propose that the NO(*-)-induced reversible inhibition of complex IV (cytochrome oxidase) potentiates the MPP(+)-induced irreversible free radical-mediated inhibition of complex I. Thus, NO(*-) may 'prime' the respiratory chain to the effects of MPP(+). These data provide evidence for an interaction between NO(*-) and MPP(+) at the level of the respiratory chain.

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