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J Neurosci Res. 2007 Aug 1;85(10):2186-95.

Astroglia overexpressing heme oxygenase-1 predispose co-cultured PC12 cells to oxidative injury.

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Centre for Neurotranslational Research, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The mechanisms responsible for the progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons and pathologic iron deposition in the substantia nigra pars compacta of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) remain unclear. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), the rate-limiting enzyme in the oxidative degradation of heme to ferrous iron, carbon monoxide, and biliverdin, is upregulated in affected PD astroglia and may contribute to abnormal mitochondrial iron sequestration in these cells. To determine whether glial HO-1 hyper-expression is toxic to neuronal compartments, we co-cultured dopaminergic PC12 cells atop monolayers of human (h) HO-1 transfected, sham-transfected, or non-transfected primary rat astroglia. We observed that PC12 cells grown atop hHO-1 transfected astrocytes, but not the astroglia themselves, were significantly more susceptible to dopamine (1 microM) + H(2)O(2) (1 microM)-induced death (assessed by nuclear ethidium monoazide bromide staining and anti-tyrosine hydroxylase immunofluorescence microscopy) relative to control preparations. In the experimental group, PC12 cell death was attenuated significantly by the administration of the HO inhibitor, SnMP (1.5 microM), the antioxidant, ascorbate (200 microM), or the iron chelators, deferoxamine (400 microM), and phenanthroline (100 microM). Exposure to conditioned media derived from HO-1 transfected astrocytes also augmented PC12 cell killing in response to dopamine (1 microM) + H(2)O(2) (1 microM) relative to control media. In PD brain, overexpression of HO-1 in nigral astroglia and accompanying iron liberation may facilitate the bioactivation of dopamine to neurotoxic free radical intermediates and predispose nearby neuronal constituents to oxidative damage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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