Overexpression of parkin ameliorates dopaminergic neurodegeneration induced by 1- methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine in mice

Minjuan Bian, Jie Liu, Xiaoqi Hong, Mei Yu, Yufang Huang, Zhejin Sheng, Jian Fei, Fang Huang
PloS One 2012, 7 (6): e39953
Mutations in the parkin gene are currently thought to be the most common cause of recessive familial Parkinsonism. Parkin functions as an E3 ligase to regulate protein turnover, and its function in mitochondrial quality control has been reported recently. Overexpression of parkin has been found to prevent neuronal degeneration under various conditions both in vivo and in vitro. Here, we generated a transgenic mouse model in which expression of wild type parkin was driven by neuron-specific enolase (NSE) promoter. We reported that both young and old parkin transgenic mice exhibited less reduction of striatal TH protein and number of TH positive neurons in the substantia nigra induced by 1-Methyl-4-Phenyl-1,2,3,6-Tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), compared to wild type littermates. MPTP-induced mitochondrial impairment in the substantia nigra was improved in young parkin transgenic mice. Decreased striatal α-synuclein was demonstrated in old parkin transgenic mice. These results provide reliable evidence from the transgenic mouse model for parkin that overexpression of parkin may attenuate dopaminergic neurodegeneration induced by MPTP through protection of mitochondria and reduction of α-synuclein in the nigrostriatal pathway.

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