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J Mol Neurosci. 2013 Jul;50(3):542-50. doi: 10.1007/s12031-013-9984-9. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Knocking out DJ-1 attenuates astrocytes neuroprotection against 6-hydroxydopamine toxicity.

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The Neuroscience Laboratory, Felsenstein Medical Research Center, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Petah-Tikva, Israel.


Astrocytes are the most abundant glial cell type in the brain. Impairment in astrocyte functions can critically influence neuronal survival and leads to neurodegeneration. Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by motor dysfunction that results from progressive neuronal loss. Astrocytic dysfunction was demonstrated in human samples and in experimental models of PD. Mutations in DJ-1 (PARK7) leading to loss of functional protein cause familial PD and enhance sensitivity to oxidative insults. Recently, an increase in DJ-1's expression was found in reactive astrocytes in various neurodegenerative disorders. Here we show that lack of DJ-1 attenuates astrocytes' ability to support neuronal cells, thereby leading to accelerated neuronal damage. DJ-1 knockout mice demonstrated increased vulnerability in vivo to 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) hemiparkinsonian PD model. Astrocytes isolated from DJ-1 knockout mice showed an inferior ability to protect human neuroblastoma cells against 6-OHDA insult both by co-culture and through their conditioned media, as compared to wild-type astrocytes. DJ-1 knockout astrocytes showed blunted ability to increase the expression of cellular protective mechanisms against oxidative stress mediated via Nrf-2 and HO-1 in response to exposure to 6-OHDA. These experiments demonstrated that lack of DJ-1 impairs astrocyte-mediated neuroprotection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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