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Chem Res Toxicol. 1996 Jun;9(4):751-63.

Further insights into the influence of L-cysteine on the oxidation chemistry of dopamine: reaction pathways of potential relevance to Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma, Norman 73019, USA.


The initial step in the genesis of neuromelanin, a black polymeric pigment normally found in the cytoplasm of dopaminergic cell bodies in the substantia nigra (SN), is the autoxidation of dopamine (DA) to DA-o-quinone (1). In this investigation, it is demonstrated that in the presence of L-cysteine (CySH) o-quinone 1 is scavenged to give 5-S-cysteinyldopamine (5-S-Cys-DA, major product) and 2-S-cysteinyldopamine (2-S-CyS-DA, minor product). These cysteinyl conjugates are more easily oxidized than DA. The relative yields of the resulting products are dependent on the concentration of free CySH. These products include 2,5-bi-S-cysteinyldopamine (2,5-bi-S-CyS-DA) and 2,5,6-tri-S-cysteinyldopamine (2,5,6-tri-S-CyS-DA), 7-(2-aminoethyl)-3,4-dihydro-5-hydroxy-2H-1,4-benzothiazine-3-carboxylic acid (DHBT-1), 8-(2-aminoethyl)-3,4-dihydro-5-hydroxy-2H-1,4-benzothiazine-3-carboxylic acid (DHBT-5), and a number of cysteinyl conjugates of these dihydrobenzothiazines (DHBTs). 2,5-Bi-S-CyS-DA, DHBT-1, the 6-S-cysteinyl conjugate of DHBT-1, DHBT-5, and the 6-S-cysteinyl conjugate of DHBT-5 were lethal when administered into the brains of laboratory mice and evoke a very characteristic hyperactivity syndrome and episodes of severe tremor. These and related results provide support for the hypothesis that the massive, irreversible loss of glutathione (GSH), increased 5-S-CyS-DA/DA concentration ratio, and depigmentation of dopaminergic neurons in the SN that all occur in Parkinson's disease (PD) might be caused by the gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase-mediated translocation of CySH (and/or GSH) into these cells. Furthermore, the resulting cysteinyldopamines and DHBTs might include endotoxic metabolites responsible for the selective degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons and PD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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