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J Neurochem. 2004 Aug;90(3):683-93.

Relationships between superoxide levels and delayed calcium deregulation in cultured cerebellar granule cells exposed continuously to glutamate.

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Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, California 94945, USA.


The relationship is investigated between superoxide levels in single cultured rat cerebellar granule neurons exposed continuously to glutamate in low KCl medium and the deregulation of cytoplasmic Ca2+. Cells that maintain a regulated cytoplasmic-free Ca2+ and mitochondrial polarization in the presence of glutamate show no increase in superoxide levels until the onset of cytoplasmic Ca2+ deregulation. Oxidative stress of mitochondrial origin is readily detectable, as the inhibitors rotenone and antimycin A markedly increase superoxide levels with no effect on cytoplasmic-free Ca2+. The potent cell-permeant superoxide dismutase/catalase mimetic manganese tetrakis (N-ethylpyridinium-2yl) porphyrin, MnTE-PyP, abolishes the deregulation-related increase in superoxide but has no effect on deregulation itself. A combination of catalase with the free radical scavenger 4-hydroxy-TEMPO also fails to reduce deregulation. Following the loss of Ca2+ homeostasis nuclei undergo condensation; this morphological change is not inhibited by MnTE-PyP and cannot account for the increased ethidium fluorescence. Phospholipase A2 inhibitors decrease the deregulation-related increase in superoxide without protecting against deregulation. In conclusion, our study indicates that deregulation is not caused by NMDA receptor-mediated oxidative stress as NMDA receptor activation does not increase superoxide levels until the onset of deregulation. Furthermore, the majority of superoxide is produced in the cytoplasm rather than in mitochondria.

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