Experimental cell research

Neuroprotective effects of erythropoietin on 6-hydroxydopamine-treated ventral mesencephalic dopamine-rich cultures.

PMID 20060824


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with motor symptoms caused by the loss of dopaminergic (DA) cells and consequently dopamine release in the nigrostriatal system. In vivo and in vitro 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) PD models are widely used to study the effect of striatal dopamine depletion as well as novel neuroprotective or restorative therapeutic strategies for PD. In the present study, we investigated in vitro the toxicity of 6-OHDA on DA neurons derived from E14 rat ventral mesencephalon (VM) and the neuroprotective efficiency of erythropoietin (Epo) on VM-derived cell cultures against 6-OHDA toxicity. Using E14 VM-derived DA-rich primary cultures, we could demonstrate that 6-OHDA toxicity works in a time-and concentration-dependent way, and leads to cell death not only in DA cells but also in non-DA cells in direct relation to concentration and incubation times. In addition, we found that 6-OHDA toxicity induces caspase-3 activation and an increment of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in VM-derived cultures. When 6-OHDA-treated VMs were cultured in the presence of the anti-apoptotic protein erythropoietin (Epo), the total neuronal population, including the DA neurons, was protected. However, untreated VM cultures exposed to Epo showed an increase in the total neuronal population, but not an additional increase in DA neuron cell number. These findings suggest that 6-OHDA toxicity is time and concentration-dependent and does not exclusively affect DA neurons. In high concentration and long incubation times, 6-OHDA influences the survival of other neuronal and non-neuronal cell populations derived from the VM cultures. 6-OHDA toxicity induces caspase-3 activation, indicating cell death via the apoptotic pathway which could be restricted or even prevented by pre-exposure to Epo, known to interact via the apoptotic pathway. Our results support and expand on previous findings showing that Epo is an interesting candidate molecule to mediate neuroprotective effects on DA neurons in PD. Furthermore, it could be used in promoting the survival of DA neurons after transplantation in clinical trials.

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