Low concentrations of methamphetamine can protect dopaminergic cells against a larger oxidative stress injury: Mechanistic study

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Abstract

Mild stress can protect against a larger insult, a phenomenon termed preconditioning or tolerance. To determine if a low intensity stressor could also protect cells against intense oxidative stress in a model of dopamine deficiency associated with Parkinson disease, we used methamphetamine to provide a mild, preconditioning stress, 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) as a source of potentially toxic oxidative stress, and MN9D cells as a model of dopamine neurons. We observed that prior exposure to subtoxic concentrations of methamphetamine protected these cells against 6-OHDA toxicity, whereas higher concentrations of methamphetamine exacerbated it. The protection by methamphetamine was accompanied by decreased uptake of both [ 3H] dopamine and 6-OHDA into the cells, which may have accounted for some of the apparent protection. However, a number of other effects of methamphetamine exposure suggest that the drug also affected basic cellular survival mechanisms. First, although methamphetamine preconditioning decreased basal pERK1/2 and pAkt levels, it enhanced the 6-OHDA-induced increase in these phosphokinases. Second, the apparent increase in pERK1/2 activity was accompanied by increased pMEK1/2 levels and decreased activity of protein phosphatase 2. Third, methamphetamine upregulated the pro-survival protein Bcl-2. Our results suggest that exposure to low concentrations of methamphetamine cause a number of changes in dopamine cells, some of which result in a decrease in their vulnerability to subsequent oxidative stress. These observations may provide insights into the development of new therapies for prevention or treatment of PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere24722
JournalPloS one
Volume6
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 12 2011

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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