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J Neurochem. 1998 Jul;71(1):69-77.

Activation of endogenous antioxidant defenses in neuronal cells prevents free radical-mediated damage.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Dopamine (DA) is oxidized to the neurotoxic prooxidant species H2O2, OH., and DA quinones. We tested whether dimethyl fumarate (DMF), an electrophile shown to induce a pleiotropic antioxidant response in nonneuronal cells, could reduce the toxicity of DA metabolites in neural cells. Treatment of the N18-RE-105 neuroblastoma-retina hybridoma cell line with 30-150 microM dopamine led to cell death within 24 h, which increased steeply with dose, decreased with higher plating density, and was blocked by the H2O2-metabolizing enzyme catalase. Pretreatment with DMF (30 microM, 24 h) significantly attenuated DA and H2O2 toxicity (40-60%) but not that caused by the calcium ionophore ionomycin. DMF treatment also elevated total intracellular GSH and increased activities of the antioxidant enzymes quinone reductase (QR), glutathione S-transferase (GST), glutathione reductase, and the pentose phosphate enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. To assess the protective efficacy of QR and GST, a stable cell line was constructed in which these enzymes were overexpressed. Cell death in the overexpressing line was not significantly different from that in a cell line expressing normal QR and GST activities, indicating that these two enzymes alone are insufficient for protection against DA toxicity. Although the relative importance of a single antioxidant enzyme such as QR or GST may be small, antioxidant inducers such as DMF may prove valuable as agents that elicit a broad-spectrum neuroprotective response.

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