Peripheral markers of apoptosis in Parkinson's disease: the effect of dopaminergic drugs.
ABSTRACT In this study, we measured the lymphocyte levels of proteins involved in apoptosis regulation, such as Bcl-2, the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (PBR), caspase-3, and Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn SOD), in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), either untreated or under therapy with dopaminergic agents (l-Dopa alone or l-dopa + dopamine agonists) and in healthy volunteers. All PD groups showed increased activity of caspase-3, compared to controls, particularly those under treatment only with l-Dopa. In this latter group, the increase in caspase-3 activity was also paralleled by an increase in the concentration of Cu/Zn SOD. In addition, patients taking l-Dopa + dopamine agonists showed marked decrease in Bcl-2 levels and increased PBR expression, which seems in keeping with the hypothesis that PBR may be functionally related to Bcl-2. In conclusion, we found clear modifications in the levels of proteins involved in the control of apoptosis in lymphocytes of PD patients. These changes were disease related but also modulated by the pharmacological treatment, which confirms the potential role of apoptosis in PD pathogenesis and the modulatory influence of dopaminergic agents.
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ABSTRACT: NURR1 is a transcription factor essential for the development, survival, and functional maintenance of midbrain dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons and NURR1 is a potential susceptibility gene for Parkinson's disease (PD). To determine whether NURR1 gene expression is altered in patients with PD, we measured its expression in human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) in 278 patients with PD, 166 healthy controls (HC), and 256 neurological disease controls (NDC) by quantitative real-time PCR. NURR1 gene expression was significantly decreased in patients with PD (particularly those with family history of PD) as compared with HC (p<0.01) and also as compared with NDC (p<0.05). There was no significant difference in NURR1 gene expression among PD patients with or without anti-PD medications. When adjusted for gender, age, and ethnicity, lower levels of NURR1 gene expression were associated with significantly increased risk for PD in women, in patients 60 years old or older, and in patients of Caucasian origin. The observed reduction in PBL NURR1 gene expression indicates possible systemic involvement in PD, and the finding may help identify individuals with PD and other disorders associated with impaired central DAergic system.Journal of the Neurological Sciences 11/2008; 273(1-2):29-33. · 2.35 Impact Factor
Article: Role of autophagy and proteasome degradation pathways in apoptosis of PC12 cells overexpressing human alpha-synuclein.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease is a common neurodegenerative disease in the elderly. Its causes and mechanisms are not clearly understood. To explore the specific role of autophagy and the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in apoptosis, a specific proteasome inhibitor and macroautophagy inhibitor and stimulator were selected to investigate pheochromocytoma (PC12) cell lines transfected with human mutant (A30P) and wild-type (WT) alpha-synuclein. The apoptosis ratio was assessed by flow cytometry. LC3, heat shock protein 70 (hsp70) and caspase-3 expression in cell culture were determined by Western blot. The hallmarks of apoptosis and autophagy were assessed with transmission electron microscopy. Compared to the control group or the rapamycin (autophagy stimulator) group, the apoptosis ratio in A30P and WT cells was significantly higher after treatment with inhibitors of the proteasome and macroautophagy. The results of Western blots for caspase-3 expression were similar to those of flow cytometry; hsp70 protein was significantly higher in the proteasome inhibitor group than in control, but in the autophagy inhibitor and stimulator groups, hsp70 was similar to control. These findings show that inhibition of the proteasome and autophagy promotes apoptosis, and the macroautophagy stimulator rapamycin reduces the apoptosis ratio. And inhibiting or stimulating autophagy has less impact on hsp70 than the proteasome pathway.Neuroscience Letters 06/2009; 454(3):203-8. · 2.11 Impact Factor
Article: Parkinson's disease therapeutics: new developments and challenges since the introduction of levodopa.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The demonstration that dopamine loss is the key pathological feature of Parkinson's disease (PD), and the subsequent introduction of levodopa have revolutionalized the field of PD therapeutics. This review will discuss the significant progress that has been made in the development of new pharmacological and surgical tools to treat PD motor symptoms since this major breakthrough in the 1960s. However, we will also highlight some of the challenges the field of PD therapeutics has been struggling with during the past decades. The lack of neuroprotective therapies and the limited treatment strategies for the nonmotor symptoms of the disease (ie, cognitive impairments, autonomic dysfunctions, psychiatric disorders, etc.) are among the most pressing issues to be addressed in the years to come. It appears that the combination of early PD nonmotor symptoms with imaging of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system offers a promising path toward the identification of PD biomarkers, which, once characterized, will set the stage for efficient use of neuroprotective agents that could slow down and alter the course of the disease.Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 09/2011; 37(1):213-46. · 6.99 Impact Factor