Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Oct 29;93(22):12553-8.

Hydrogen peroxide-mediated neuronal cell death induced by an endogenous neurotoxin, 3-hydroxykynurenine.

Author information

Department of Chemical Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo, Japan.


3-Hydroxykynurenine (3-HK) is a tryptophan metabolite whose level in the brain is markedly elevated under several pathological conditions, including Huntington disease and human immunodeficiency virus infection. Here we demonstrate that micromolar concentrations (1-100 microM) of 3-HK cause cell death in primary neuronal cultures prepared from rat striatum. The neurotoxicity of 3-HK was blocked by catalase and desferrioxamine but not by superoxide dismutase, indicating that the generation of hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radical is involved in the toxicity. Measurement of peroxide levels revealed that 3-HK caused intracellular accumulation of peroxide, which was largely attenuated by application of catalase. The peroxide accumulation and cell death caused by 1-10 microM 3-HK were also blocked by pretreatment with allopurinol or oxypurinol, suggesting that endogenous xanthine oxidase activity is involved in exacerbation of 3-HK neurotoxicity. Furthermore, NADPH diaphorase-containing neurons were spared from toxicity of these concentrations of 3-HK, a finding reminiscent of the pathological characteristics of several neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington disease. These results suggest that 3-HK at pathologically relevant concentrations renders neuronal cells subject to oxidative stress leading to cell death, and therefore that this endogenous compound should be regarded as an important factor in pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center