Antiapoptotic effects of nicotine in its protection against salsolinol-induced cytotoxicity
Salsolinol (1-methyl-6,7-dihydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline), a metabolite of dopamine, may act as an endogenous neurotoxin and contribute to the etiology of Parkinson's disease (PD). The inverse relationship between smoking and PD prompted our previous investigation and the report of protective effects of nicotine against salsolinol-induced toxicity in cultured SH-SY5Y cells (Copeland et al., Neurotox. Res. 8:289, 2005). These cells, derived from human neuroblastoma cells, express dopaminergic activity and are used as a model of nigral dopaminergic cells, the major site of pathology in PD. The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether apoptotic or antiapoptotic mechanisms were responsible for the observed effects of salsolinol and nicotine, respectively. Moreover, it was of interest to determine whether the actions of nicotine are mediated through nicotinic receptors. SH-SY5Y cells were exposed to 0.4 or 0.7 mM salsolinol with and without pretreatment in combination of 0.1 mM nicotine and 0.1 mM mecamylamine and were exposed for 24 and 48 h. Various parameters including cell cycle perturbations (reflected in propidium iodide DNA staining); cell cycle regulator retinoblastoma protein (reflected in the Western blot), apoptosis (reflected in annexin V/propidium iodide staining followed by flow cytometry) were analyzed. Salsolinol caused an arrest of the cells in G1-phase of cell cycle and an increase in apoptotic indices, whereas pretreatment with nicotine attenuated or completely blocked the effects of salsolinol. Nicotine effects in turn, were totally blocked by mecamylamine (0.1 mM). The results suggest that apoptosis is a major mechanism for salsolinol-induced toxicity and that antiapoptotic effects of nicotine, mediated by nicotinic receptors, may play a primary role in its neuroprotective effects. Hence, nicotinic agonists in combination with other antiapoptotic agents may be of substantial benefit in at least a subpopulation of Parkinson patients.
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