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Free Radic Biol Med. 2010 Dec 1;49(11):1674-84. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2010.08.028. Epub 2010 Sep 7.

Neuroprotection by a mitochondria-targeted drug in a Parkinson's disease model.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


The objective of this study was to assess the neuroprotective effects of a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant, Mito-Q(10), the coenzyme-Q analog attached to a triphenylphosphonium cation that targets the antioxidant to mitochondria, in experimental models of Parkinson's disease (PD). Primary mesencephalic neuronal cells and cultured dopaminergic cells were treated with 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+)), an active metabolite of the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), and mice were used for testing the efficacy of Mito-Q(10). MPP(+) treatment caused a dose-dependent loss of tyrosine hydroxylase and membrane potential and an increase in caspase-3 activation in dopaminergic cells, which were reversed by Mito-Q(10). MPTP treatment induced a loss of striatal dopamine and its metabolites, inactivation of mitochondrial aconitase in the substantia nigra, and a loss of locomotor activity in mice. Treatment with Mito-Q(10) significantly inhibited both MPP(+)- and MPTP-induced neurotoxicity in cell culture and mouse models. Collectively, these results indicate that mitochondrial targeting of antioxidants is a promising neuroprotective strategy in this preclinical mouse model of PD.

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