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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2008 Oct;28(10):1697-706. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2008.61. Epub 2008 Jun 11.

Sequential release of nitric oxide, zinc, and superoxide in hypoglycemic neuronal death.

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Department of Neurology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94121, USA.


Oxidative stress and zinc release are both known to contribute to neuronal death after hypoglycemia; however, the cause-effect relationships between these events are not established. Here we found, using a rat model of profound hypoglycemia, that the neuronal zinc release and translocation that occur immediately after hypoglycemia are prevented by the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor 7-nitroindazole but not by overexpression of superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD-1). However, overexpression of SOD-1 prevented activation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) and neuronal death, suggesting that zinc release is upstream of superoxide production. Accordingly, zinc-induced superoxide production was blocked in neuronal cultures by the NADPH oxidase inhibitor apocynin and by genetic deficiency in the p47(phox) subunit of NADPH oxidase. A key role for the vesicular zinc pool in this process was suggested by reduced superoxide formation and neuronal death in mice deficient in zinc transporter 3. Together, these findings suggest a series of events in which nitric oxide production triggers vesicular zinc release, which in turn activates NADPH oxidase and PARP-1. This sequence may also occur in other central nervous system disorders in which zinc, nitric oxide, and oxidative stress have been linked.

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