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IUBMB Life. 2011 Dec;63(12):1087-93. doi: 10.1002/iub.538. Epub 2011 Nov 2.

Formation of dopamine quinone-DNA adducts and their potential role in the etiology of Parkinson's disease.

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Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 986805 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-6805, USA.


The neurotransmitter dopamine is oxidized to its quinone (DA-Q), which at neutral pH undergoes intramolecular cyclization by 1,4-Michael addition, followed by oxidation to form leukochrome, then aminochrome, and finally neuromelanin. At lower pH, the amino group of DA is partially protonated, allowing the competitive intermolecular 1,4-Michael addition with nucleophiles in DNA to form the depurinating adducts, DA-6-N3Ade and DA-6-N7Gua. Catechol estrogen-3,4-quinones react by 1,4-Michael addition to form the depurinating 4-hydroxyestrone(estradiol)-1-N3Ade [4-OHE1(E2)-1-N3Ade] and 4-OHE1(E2)-1-N7Gua adducts, which are implicated in the initiation of breast and other human cancers. The effect of pH was studied by reacting tyrosinase-activated DA with DNA and measuring the formation of depurinating adducts. The most adducts were formed at pH 4, 5, and 6, and their level was nominal at pH 7 and 8. The N3Ade adduct depurinated instantaneously, but N7Gua had a half-life of 3 H. The slow loss of the N7Gua adduct is analogous to that observed in previous studies of natural and synthetic estrogens. The antioxidants N-acetylcysteine and resveratrol efficiently blocked formation of the DA-DNA adducts. Thus, slightly acidic conditions render competitive the reaction of DA-Q with DNA to form depurinating adducts. We hypothesize that formation of these adducts could lead to mutations that initiate Parkinson's disease. If so, use of N-acetylcysteine and resveratrol as dietary supplements may prevent initiation of this disease.

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