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Neurosci Res. 2003 Jul;46(3):349-58.

N-methylated beta-carbolines protect PC12 cells from cytotoxic effect of MPP+ by attenuation of mitochondrial membrane permeability change.

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Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, Chung-Ang University, 156-756, Seoul, South Korea.


Opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore has been recognized to be involved in cell death. The present study investigated the effect of beta-carbolines (harmaline and harmalol) on the MPP(+)-induced change in the mitochondrial membrane permeability and cell death in differentiated PC12 cells. beta-Carbolines and antioxidants (superoxide dismutase, catalase, ascorbate or rutin) prevented the loss of cell viability in PC12 cells treated with 250 microM MPP(+), while the effects of N-acetylcysteine and dithiothreitol were not observed. beta-Carbolines reduced the condensation and fragmentation of nuclei caused by MPP(+) in PC12 cells. beta-Carbolines alone did not exhibit a significant cytotoxic effect on PC12 cells. beta-Carbolines (50 microM) inhibited the decrease in mitochondrial transmembrane potential, cytochrome c release, activation of caspase-3, formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and depletion of GSH caused by MPP(+) in PC12 cells. beta-Carbolines reduced the hydrogen peroxide- or SIN-1-induced cell death in PC12 cells. The results suggest that beta-carbolines may attenuate the MPP(+)-induced viability loss in PC12 cells by inhibition of change in the mitochondrial membrane permeability and by antioxidant effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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