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J Neurochem. 2005 Mar;92(5):1021-32.

Monoamine transporter inhibitors and norepinephrine reduce dopamine-dependent iron toxicity in cells derived from the substantia nigra.

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Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Santiago, Chile.


The role of dopamine in iron uptake into catecholaminergic neurons, and dopamine oxidation to aminochrome and its one-electron reduction in iron-mediated neurotoxicity, was studied in RCSN-3 cells, which express both tyrosine hydroxylase and monoamine transporters. The mean +/- SD uptake of 100 microm 59FeCl3 in RCSN-3 cells was 25 +/- 4 pmol per min per mg, which increased to 28 +/- 8 pmol per min per mg when complexed with dopamine (Fe(III)-dopamine). This uptake was inhibited by 2 microm nomifensine (43%p < 0.05), 100 microm imipramine (62%p < 0.01), 30 microm reboxetine (71%p < 0.01) and 2 mm dopamine (84%p < 0.01). The uptake of 59Fe-dopamine complex was Na+, Cl- and temperature dependent. No toxic effects in RCSN-3 cells were observed when the cells were incubated with 100 microm FeCl3 alone or complexed with dopamine. However, 100 microm Fe(III)-dopamine in the presence of 100 microm dicoumarol, an inhibitor of DT-diaphorase, induced toxicity (44% cell death; p < 0.001), which was inhibited by 2 microm nomifensine, 30 microm reboxetine and 2 mm norepinephrine. The neuroprotective action of norepinephrine can be explained by (1) its ability to form complexes with Fe3+, (2) the uptake of Fe-norepinephrine complex via the norepinephrine transporter and (3) lack of toxicity of the Fe-norepinephrine complex even when DT-diaphorase is inhibited. These results support the proposed neuroprotective role of DT-diaphorase and norepinephrine.

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