Alpha-lipoic acid suppresses 6-hydroxydopamine-induced ROS generation and apoptosis through the stimulation of glutathione synthesis but not by the expression of heme oxygenase-1

Hirofumi Fujita, Masahiko Shiosaka, Tetsuya Ogino, Yuya Okimura, Toshihiko Utsumi, Eisuke F Sato, Reiko Akagi, Masayasu Inoue, Kozo Utsumi, Junzo Sasaki
Brain Research 2008 April 24, 1206: 1-12
We previously reported that the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is the initial event in cell death induced by 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), an experimental model of Parkinsonism. Since recent studies suggested the important role of antioxidant activity of alpha-lipoic acid (LA) in the suppression of apoptosis of various types, we studied the effect on 6-OHDA-induced apoptosis of PC12 cells. Biochemical analysis revealed that LA suppressed the 6-OHDA-induced ROS generation, increase of caspase-like activity and chromatin condensation. The suppression of 6-OHDA-induced apoptosis by LA required pre-incubation of PC12 cells with LA for 12-24 h. LA increased the intracellular levels of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and glutathione (GSH) and stimulated the expression of GSH synthesis-related genes such as cystine/glutamate antiporter and gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (gamma-GCS). However, Sn-mesoporphyrin IX, an inhibitor of HO-1, did not attenuate the LA-induced suppression of apoptosis. In contrast, buthionine sulfoximine, an inhibitor of gamma-GCS, attenuated the LA-induced suppression of ROS generation and chromatin condensation. In addition, a transcription factor Nrf2, which regulates the expression of antioxidant enzymes such as gamma-GCS, translocated to the nucleus by LA. These results suggested that LA suppressed the 6-OHDA induced-apoptosis by the increase in cellular glutathione through stimulation of the GSH synthesis system but not by the expression of HO-1.

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