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Cell Death Differ. 2006 Apr;13(4):551-63.

MTH1, an oxidized purine nucleoside triphosphatase, protects the dopamine neurons from oxidative damage in nucleic acids caused by 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine.

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  • 1Division of Neurofunctional Genomics, Department of Immunobiology and Neuroscience, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.


We previously reported that 8-oxoguanine (8-oxoG) accumulates in the cytoplasm of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra of patients with Parkinson's disease and the expression of MTH1 carrying an oxidized purine nucleoside triphosphatase activity increases in these neurons, thus suggesting that oxidative damage in nucleic acids is involved in dopamine neuron loss. In the present study, we found that levels of 8-oxoG in cellular DNA and RNA increased in the mouse nigrostriatal system during the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive dopamine neuron loss induced by the administration of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). MTH1-null mice exhibited a greater accumulation of 8-oxoG in mitochondrial DNA accompanied by a more significant decrease in TH and dopamine transporter immunoreactivities in the striatum after MPTP administration, than in wild-type mice. We thus demonstrated that MTH1 protects the dopamine neurons from oxidative damage in the nucleic acids, especially in the mitochondrial DNA of striatal nerve terminals of dopamine neurons.

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