Curcumin ameliorates the neurodegenerative pathology in A53T α-synuclein cell model of Parkinson's disease through the downregulation of mTOR/p70S6K signaling and the recovery of macroautophagy.J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013 Mar; 8(1):356-69.JN
Parkinson's disease (PD) is pathologically characterized by the presence of α-synuclein positive intracytoplasmic inclusions. The missense mutation, A53T α-synuclein is closely related to hereditary, early-onset PD. Accumulating evidences suggest that pathological accumulation of A53T α-synuclein protein will perturb itself to be efficiently and normally degraded through its usual degradation pathway, macroautophagy-lysosome pathway, therefore toxic effects on the neuron will be exacerbated. Based on the above fact, we demonstrated in this study that A53T α-synuclein overexpression impairs macroautophagy in SH-SY5Y cells and upregulates mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/p70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase (p70S6K) signaling, the classical suppressive pathway of autophagy. We further found that curcumin, a natural compound derived from the curry spice turmeric and with low toxicity in normal cells, could efficiently reduce the accumulation of A53T α-synuclein through downregulation of the mTOR/p70S6K signaling and recovery of macroautophagy which was suppressed. These findings suggested that the regulation of mTOR/p70S6K signaling may be a participant of the accumulation of A53T α-synuclein protein-linked Parkinsonism. Meanwhile curcumin could be a candidate neuroprotective agent by inducing macroautophagy, and needs to be further investigated by clinical application in patients suffering Parkinson's disease.