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Neurotox Res. 2019 Sep 7. doi: 10.1007/s12640-019-00107-w. [Epub ahead of print]

Mitochondrial Protection Promoted by the Coffee Diterpene Kahweol in Methylglyoxal-Treated Human Neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y Cells.

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Grupo de Estudos em Neuroquímica e Neurobiologia de Moléculas Bioativas, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT), Av. Fernando Corrêa da Costa, 2367, Cuiaba, MT, CEP 78060-900, Brazil.
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Química (PPGQ), Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT), Cuiaba, MT, Brazil.
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Saúde (PPGCS), Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT), Cuiaba, MT, Brazil.
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Bioquímica e Bioprospecção (PPGBBIO), Centro de Ciências Químicas, Farmacêuticas e de Alimentos (CCQFA), Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal de Pelotas (UFPel), Pelotas, RS, Brazil.
Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas, Universidade Federal do ABC, Santo André, SP, Brazil.


The coffee diterpene kahweol (KW; C20H26O3) is a cytoprotective agent exhibiting potent antioxidant actions, as demonstrated in several experimental models. In spite of the efforts to elucidate exactly how KW promotes cytoprotection, it was not previously examined whether KW would be able to protect mitochondria of human cells undergoing redox stress. In the present work, we have treated the human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell line with KW at 0.1-10 μM for 12 h prior to a challenge with methylglyoxal (MG), a reactive dicarbonyl that impairs mitochondrial function. We have found that KW at 10 μM suppressed the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and the bioenergetics decline (including decreased activity of the mitochondrial complexes I and V and reduced production of adenosine triphosphate, ATP) in the MG-treated SH-SY5Y cells. KW also prevented the MG-elicited generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS, respectively) in the SH-SY5Y cells. In this regard, KW exerted an antioxidant effect on the membranes of mitochondria obtained from the MG-treated cells. The mitochondria-related effects induced by KW were blocked by inhibition of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt or of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways. Moreover, silencing of the transcription factor nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) suppressed the mitochondrial protection promoted by KW in the MG-challenged cells. Therefore, KW protected mitochondria by a mechanism associated with the PI3K/Akt and p38 MAPK/Nrf2 signaling pathways.


Antioxidant; Cytoprotection; Kahweol; Methylglyoxal; Mitochondria; Nrf2


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