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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2011 Jul 15;254(2):65-71. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2010.03.023. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

Effects of manganese on tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) activity and TH-phosphorylation in a dopaminergic neural cell line.

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  • 1Parkinson's Disorder Research Laboratory, Iowa Center for Advanced Neurotoxicology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-1250, USA.


Manganese (Mn) exposure causes manganism, a neurological disorder similar to Parkinson's disease. However, the cellular mechanism by which Mn impairs the dopaminergic neurotransmitter system remains unclear. We previously demonstrated that caspase-3-dependent proteolytic activation of protein kinase C delta (PKCδ) plays a key role in Mn-induced apoptotic cell death in dopaminergic neurons. Recently, we showed that PKCδ negatively regulates tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme in dopamine synthesis, by enhancing protein phosphatase-2A activity in dopaminergic neurons. Here, we report that Mn exposure can affect the enzymatic activity of TH, the rate-limiting enzyme in dopamine synthesis, by activating PKCδ-PP2A signaling pathway in a dopaminergic cell model. Low dose Mn (3-10μM) exposure to differentiated mesencephalic dopaminergic neuronal cells for 3h induced a significant increase in TH activity and phosphorylation of TH-Ser40. The PKCδ specific inhibitor rottlerin did not prevent Mn-induced TH activity or TH-Ser40 phosphorylation. On the contrary, chronic exposure to 0.1-1 μM Mn for 24h induced a dose-dependent decrease in TH activity. Interestingly, chronic Mn treatment significantly increased PKCδ kinase activity and protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) enzyme activity. Treatment with the PKCδ inhibitor rottlerin almost completely prevented chronic Mn-induced reduction in TH activity, as well as increased PP2A activity. Neither acute nor chronic Mn exposures induced any cytotoxic cell death or altered TH protein levels. Collectively, these results demonstrate that low dose Mn exposure impairs TH activity in dopaminergic cells through activation of PKCδ and PP2A activity.

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