Protection from oxidation enhances the survival of cultured mesencephalic neurons.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Oxidative stress has been linked to the destruction of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and may be a significant factor in both Parkinson's disease and MPTP toxicity. Using primary cultures of embryonic rat mesencephalon and standard immunocytochemical techniques, we have examined the survival of tyrosine hydroxylase-containing (TH+) neurons cultured in the presence of antioxidants and/or in an environment of low oxygen partial pressure. The number of TH+ neurons increased approximately twofold if superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase (GP), or N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) were added to the culture media. Exposure of the neurons to a 5% oxygen environment (38 torr, i.e., 38 mm Hg) also increased the survival of TH+ neurons by about twofold. A dramatic enhancement of survival, however, was seen when NAC was used in combination with the 5% oxygen environment. In this case, the number of TH+ neurons increased fourfold from nontreated controls. Morphological changes were also noted. GP increased the average neurite length while NAC increased the average area of the cell body in the TH+ neuron. These results suggest that manipulation of oxidative conditions by changing the ambient O2 tension or the level of antioxidants promotes survival of TH+ neurons in culture and may have implications for transplantation therapies in Parkinson's disease.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Colton, CA; Pagan, F; Snell, J; Colton, JS; Cummins, A; Gilbert, DL

Published Date

  • March 1995

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 132 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 54 - 61

PubMed ID

  • 7720826

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0014-4886

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0014-4886(95)90058-6


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States