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Aging Cell. 2011 Oct;10(5):807-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2011.00721.x. Epub 2011 Jun 14.

DLP1-dependent mitochondrial fragmentation mediates 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium toxicity in neurons: implications for Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, 2103 Connell Road, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Selective degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease (PD) can be modeled by the administration of the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+) ). Because abnormal mitochondrial dynamics are increasingly implicated in the pathogenesis of PD, in this study, we investigated the effect of MPP(+) on mitochondrial dynamics and assessed temporal and causal relationship with other toxic effects induced by MPP(+) in neuronal cells. In SH-SY5Y cells, MPP(+) causes a rapid increase in mitochondrial fragmentation followed by a second wave of increase in mitochondrial fragmentation, along with increased DLP1 expression and mitochondrial translocation. Genetic inactivation of DLP1 completely blocks MPP(+) -induced mitochondrial fragmentation. Notably, this approach partially rescues MPP(+) -induced decline in ATP levels and ATP/ADP ratio and increased [Ca(2+) ](i) and almost completely prevents increased reactive oxygen species production, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, enhanced autophagy and cell death, suggesting that mitochondria fragmentation is an upstream event that mediates MPP(+) -induced toxicity. On the other hand, thiol antioxidant N-acetylcysteine or glutamate receptor antagonist D-AP5 also partially alleviates MPP(+) -induced mitochondrial fragmentation, suggesting a vicious spiral of events contributes to MPP(+) -induced toxicity. We further validated our findings in primary rat midbrain dopaminergic neurons that 0.5 μm MPP(+) induced mitochondrial fragmentation only in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive dopaminergic neurons in a similar pattern to that in SH-SY5Y cells but had no effects on these mitochondrial parameters in TH-negative neurons. Overall, these findings suggest that DLP1-dependent mitochondrial fragmentation plays a crucial role in mediating MPP(+) -induced mitochondria abnormalities and cellular dysfunction and may represent a novel therapeutic target for PD.

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