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J Neurol Sci. 2009 Mar 15;278(1-2):44-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2008.11.012. Epub 2008 Dec 21.

Protection against paraquat and A53T alpha-synuclein toxicity by cabergoline is partially mediated by dopamine receptors.

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  • 1University Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Institute of Neurology (Royal Free Campus), University College London, Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF, UK.


Both genetic and environmental factors are thought to be involved in the aetiology of Parkinson's disease (PD). Oxidative damage, mitochondrial and proteasomal dysfunction, and inflammatory change are considered to participate in PD pathogenesis. Dopamine agonists are used in the symptomatic treatment of PD but attention has recently also been focussed on their potential for use in slowing disease progression. We have studied the protective actions of the D2 dopamine agonist cabergoline in toxin (paraquat) and genetic (wild-type and mutant [A53T] alpha-synuclein) models of PD using SHSY-5Y cells. Cabergoline increased glutathione content, reduced free radical production and caspase-3 activation, increased mitochondrial membrane potential and ameliorated cell death in SHSY-5Y cells exposed to paraquat and this action was inhibited in part by D2 receptor blockade. Cabergoline also reduced the toxicity of wild-type and mutant alpha-synuclein expression following paraquat exposure by similar mechanisms. These results confirm the protective action of cabergoline in reducing cell death in two separate genetic and environmental model systems of PD.

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