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Neuropharmacology. 2007 Jun;52(8):1678-84. Epub 2007 Apr 19.

Inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta protects dopaminergic neurons from MPTP toxicity.

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Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, China.


Glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta) is closely involved in neuronal apoptosis and pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. However, whether GSK-3beta mediates apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease remains elusive. In this study, using 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced Parkinsonism models, we investigated whether MPTP induces apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons through a GSK-3beta-dependent pathway. MPTP caused a rapid activation of GSK-3beta, evidenced by the decrease in level of phospho-Ser9 of GSK-3beta and the increase in level of phospho-Ser396 of tau, a known GSK-3beta substrate. Blockage of GSK-3beta activity by its two specific inhibitors, indirubin-3'-oxime and AR-A014418, prevented dopaminergic neurons from MPTP-induced apoptosis. Additionally, inhibition of GSK-3beta activity restored the depletion of striatal dopamine and ameliorated behavioral impairments caused by MPTP. These results indicate that GSK-3beta is a critical intermediate of MPTP neurotoxicity, and inhibition of GSK-3beta may provide a novel strategy to treat Parkinson's disease.

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