Protection from oxidation enhances the survival of cultured mesencephalic neurons.


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

Pubmed Central 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