Carnosic acid prevents 6-hydroxydopamine-induced cell death in SH-SY5Y cells via mediation of glutathione synthesis

Jing-Hsien Chen, Hsin-Ping Ou, Chia-Yuan Lin, Fung-Ju Lin, Chi-Rei Wu, Shu-Wei Chang, Chia-Wen Tsai
Chemical Research in Toxicology 2012 September 17, 25 (9): 1893-901
Understanding the neuroprotective effects of the rosemary phenolic diterpene carnosic acid (CA) has attracted increasing attention. We explored the mechanism by which CA modulates the neurotoxic effects of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) in SH-SY5Y cells. Cells were pretreated with CA for 12 h followed by treatment with 100 μM 6-OHDA for 12 or 24 h. Cell viability determined by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolim bromide (MTT) assay indicated that 0.1 to 1 μM CA dose-dependently attenuated the cell death induced by 6-OHDA, whereas the effect of 3-5 μM CA was weaker. CA at 1 μM suppressed the 6-OHDA-induced nuclear condensation, reactive oxygen species generation, and cleavage of caspase 3 and PARP. Immunoblots showed that the phosphorylation of c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 by 6-OHDA was reduced in the presence of CA. Incubation of cells with CA resulted in significant increases in the total glutathione (GSH) level and the protein expression of the γ-glutamylcysteine ligase catalytic subunit and modifier subunit. L-Buthionine-sulfoximine, an inhibitor of GSH synthesis, attenuated the effect of CA on cell death and apoptosis. Treatment with CA also led to an increase in nuclear factor erythroid-2 related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation, antioxidant response element (ARE)-luciferase reporter activity, and DNA binding to the ARE. Silencing of Nrf2 expression alleviated the reversal of p38 and JNK1/2 activation by CA. These results suggest that the attenuation of 6-OHDA-induced apoptosis by CA is associated with the Nrf2-driven synthesis of GSH, which in turn down-regulates the JNK and p38 signaling pathways. The CA compound may be a promising candidate for neuroprotection in Parkinson's disease.

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