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Neurochem Int. 1997 Aug;31(2):169-76.

Role of oxidative stress in the manganese and 1-methyl-4-(2'-ethylphenyl)-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-induced apoptosis in PC12 cells.

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Institute of Pharmacology, University of Sassari, Italy. DESOLE@SS MAIN.UNISS.IT


Oxidative stress is thought to play a key role in the apoptotic death of several cellular systems, including neurons. Oxidative stress is proposed also as a mechanism of the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)- and manganese (Mn)-induced neuronal death. We have recently shown that Mn and the MPTP analogue 1-methyl-4-(2'-ethylphenyl)-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (2'Et-MPTP), which is metabolized by MAO-A to 1-methyl-4-(2'-ethylphenyl)-pyridinium ion, induce apoptosis in PC12 cells. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of deprenyl and the antioxidant drugs N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and ascorbic acid (AA) on Mn- and 2'Et-MPTP-induced apoptosis in PC12 cells. Apoptosis was tested by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated 2'-deoxy-uridine-5'-triphosphate nick end labelling (TUNEL) technique, flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. Cell viability was determined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Mn-induced apoptosis and decrease in cell viability was inhibited by the antioxidants NAC and AA. Deprenyl failed to inhibit the above Mn effects. Neither NAC, AA nor deprenyl were able to inhibit both 2'Et-MPTP-induced apoptosis and decrease in cell viability. These results confirm that apoptosis may be an important mechanism of cell death in MPTP- and Mn-induced parkinsonism. However, an oxidative stress mechanism may be recognized, at least in vitro, only in the Mn-induced apoptosis.

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