Metallothionein-mediated neuroprotection in genetically engineered mouse models of Parkinson's disease.Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2005 Mar 24; 134(1):67-75.BR
Parkinson's disease is characterized by a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra zona compacta, and in other sub-cortical nuclei associated with a widespread occurrence of Lewy bodies. The cause of cell death in Parkinson's disease is still poorly understood, but a defect in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and enhanced oxidative and nitrative stresses have been proposed. We have studied control(wt) (C57B1/6), metallothionein transgenic (MTtrans), metallothionein double gene knock (MTdko), alpha-synuclein knock out (alpha-syn(ko)), alpha-synuclein-metallothionein triple knock out (alpha-syn-MTtko), weaver mutant (wv/wv) mice, and Ames dwarf mice to examine the role of peroxynitrite in the etiopathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and aging. Although MTdko mice were genetically susceptible to 1, methyl, 4-phenyl, 1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) Parkinsonism, they did not exhibit any overt clinical symptoms of neurodegeneration and gross neuropathological changes as observed in wv/wv mice. Progressive neurodegenerative changes were associated with typical Parkinsonism in wv/wv mice. Neurodegenerative changes in wv/wv mice were observed primarily in the striatum, hippocampus and cerebellum. Various hallmarks of apoptosis including caspase-3, TNFalpha, NFkappaB, metallothioneins (MT-1, 2) and complex-1 nitration were increased; whereas glutathione, complex-1, ATP, and Ser(40)-phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase, and striatal 18F-DOPA uptake were reduced in wv/wv mice as compared to other experimental genotypes. Striatal neurons of wv/wv mice exhibited age-dependent increase in dense cored intra-neuronal inclusions, cellular aggregation, proto-oncogenes (c-fos, c-jun, caspase-3, and GAPDH) induction, inter-nucleosomal DNA fragmentation, and neuro-apoptosis. MTtrans and alpha-Syn(ko) mice were genetically resistant to MPTP-Parkinsonism and Ames dwarf mice possessed significantly higher concentrations of striatal coenzyme Q10 and metallothioneins (MT 1, 2) and lived almost 2.5 times longer as compared to control(wt) mice. A potent peroxynitrite ion generator, 3-morpholinosydnonimine (SIN-1)-induced apoptosis was significantly attenuated in MTtrans fetal stem cells. These data are interpreted to suggest that peroxynitrite ions are involved in the etiopathogenesis of Parkinson's disease, and metallothionein-mediated coenzyme Q10 synthesis may provide neuroprotection.