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Ann Neurol. 1997 Sep;42(3):326-34.

Increased 3-nitrotyrosine and oxidative damage in mice with a human copper/zinc superoxide dismutase mutation.

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Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center, VA Medical Center, Bedford, MA, USA.


Mutations in copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) cause a subset of cases of autosomal dominant familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS). Transgenic mice that express these point mutations develop progressive paralysis and motor neuron loss thought to be caused by a gain-of-function of the enzyme. The gain-of-function may be an enhanced ability of the mutant SOD1 to generate .OH radicals or to facilitate peroxynitrite-mediated nitration of proteins. We found significant increases in concentrations of 3-nitrotyrosine, a marker of peroxynitrite-mediated nitration, in upper and lower spinal cord and in cerebral cortex of transgenic mice with the FALS-associated G93A mutation. Malondialdehyde, a marker of lipid peroxidation, was increased in cerebral cortex. 3-Nitrotyrosine-, heme oxygenase-1-, and malondialdehyde-modified protein immunoreactivities were increased throughout SOD1 transgenic mice spinal cord but particularly within motor neurons. These results suggest that the gain-of-function of at least one mutant SOD1 associated with FALS involves increased protein nitration and oxidative damage, which may play a role in neuronal degeneration.

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