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Urate and Its Transgenic Depletion Modulate Neuronal Vulnerability in a Cellular Model of Parkinson's Disease

By Sara Cipriani, Cody A. Desjardins, Thomas C. Burdett, Yuehang Xu, Kui Xu and Michael A. Schwarzschild


Urate is a major antioxidant as well as the enzymatic end product of purine metabolism in humans. Higher levels correlate with a reduced risk of developing Parkinson's disease (PD) and with a slower rate of PD progression. In this study we investigated the effects of modulating intracellular urate concentration on 1-methyl-4-phenyl-pyridinium (MPP+)-induced degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in cultures of mouse ventral mesencephalon prepared to contain low (neuron-enriched cultures) or high (neuron-glial cultures) percentage of astrocytes. Urate, added to the cultures 24 hours before and during treatment with MPP+, attenuated the loss of dopaminergic neurons in neuron-enriched cultures and fully prevented their loss and atrophy in neuron-astrocyte cultures. Exogenous urate was found to increase intracellular urate content in cortical neuronal cultures. To assess the effect of reducing cellular urate content on MPP+-induced toxicity, mesencephalic neurons were prepared from mice over-expressing urate oxidase (UOx). Transgenic UOx expression decreased endogenous urate content both in neurons and astrocytes. Dopaminergic neurons expressing UOx were more susceptible to MPP+ in mesencephalic neuron-enriched cultures and to a greater extent in mesencephalic neuron-astrocyte cultures. Our findings correlate intracellular urate content in dopaminergic neurons with their toxin resistance in a cellular model of PD and suggest a facilitative role for astrocytes in the neuroprotective effect of urate

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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