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Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2009 Dec;29(8):1169-80. doi: 10.1007/s10571-009-9411-5.

Protective effects of resveratrol and quercetin against MPP+ -induced oxidative stress act by modulating markers of apoptotic death in dopaminergic neurons.

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Department of Biochemistry and Neuroscience Research Group, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, QC, G9A 5H7, Canada.


Reactive oxygen species produced by oxidative stress may participate in the apoptotic death of dopamine neurons distinctive of Parkinson's disease. Resveratrol, a red wine extract, and quercetin, found mainly in green tea, are two natural polyphenols, presenting antioxidant properties in a variety of cellular paradigms. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of resveratrol and quercetin on the apoptotic cascade induced by the administration of 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP(+)), a Parkinsonian toxin, provoking the selective degeneration of dopaminergic neurons. Our results show that a pre-treatment for 3 h with resveratrol or quercetin before MPP(+) administration could greatly reduce apoptotic neuronal PC12 death induced by MPP(+). We also demonstrated that resveratrol or quercetin modulates mRNA levels and protein expression of Bax, a pro-apoptotic gene, and Bcl-2, an anti-apoptotic gene. We then evaluated the release of cytochrome c and the nuclear translocation of the apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF). Altogether, our results indicate that resveratrol and quercetin diminish apoptotic neuronal cell death by acting on the expression of pro- and anti-apoptotic genes. These findings support the role of these natural polyphenols in preventive and/or complementary therapies for several human neurodegenerative diseases caused by oxidative stress and apoptosis.

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