Critical role of microglial NADPH oxidase-derived free radicals in the in vitro MPTP model of Parkinson's disease

21 2003

Critical role of microglial NADPH oxidase-derived free radicals in the in vitro MPTP model of Parkinson's disease

Hui-Ming Gao, Bin Liu, Wanqin Zhang, and Jau-Shyong Hong

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1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) damages dopaminergic neurons as seen in Parkinson's disease. Although increasing evidence suggests an involvement of glia in MPTP neurotoxicity, the nature of this involvement remains unclear.

Exploiting the advantage of cell culture systems, we demonstrated that microglia, but not astroglia, significantly enhanced the progression of MPTP-induced dopaminergic neurodegeneration. Characterization of the temporal relationship between neurodegeneration and microglial activation demonstrates that reactive microgliosis resulting from MPTP-initiated neuronal injury, but not direct activation, underlies the microglia-enhanced MPTP neurotoxicity. Mechanistically, through the release of NADPH oxidase-derived reactive oxygen species, microglia contribute to the progressive neuronal damage.

Among the factors measured, the production of extracellular superoxide was the most prominent. NADPH oxidase inhibitor, apocynin, attenuated MPTP-induced dopaminergic neurodegeneration only in the presence of glia. More importantly, dopaminergic neurons from mice lacking NADPH oxidase, a key enzyme for superoxide production in immune cells, are significantly more resistant to MPTP neurotoxicity than those from wild-type controls, and microglia dictate the resistance.

This study demonstrates that reactive microgliosis triggered by MPTP-induced neuronal injury and NADPH oxidase-mediated superoxide production in microglia constitute an integral component of MPTP neurotoxicity. This study also suggests that NADPH oxidase may be a promising target for therapeutic interventions in Parkinson's disease.

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