Increased oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction have been identified as common pathophysiological phenomena associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD) and Huntington's disease (HD). As the age-related decline in the production of melatonin may contribute to increased levels of oxidative stress in the elderly, the role of this neuroprotective agent is attracting increasing attention. Melatonin has multiple actions as a regulator of antioxidant and prooxidant enzymes, radical scavenger and antagonist of mitochondrial radical formation. The ability of melatonin and its kynuramine metabolites to interact directly with the electron transport chain by increasing the electron flow and reducing electron leakage are unique features by which melatonin is able to increase the survival of neurons under enhanced oxidative stress. Moreover, antifibrillogenic actions have been demonstrated in vitro, also in the presence of profibrillogenic apoE4 or apoE3, and in vivo, in a transgenic mouse model. Amyloid-β toxicity is antagonized by melatonin and one of its kynuramine metabolites. Cytoskeletal disorganization and protein hyperphosphorylation, as induced in several cell-line models, have been attenuated by melatonin, effects comprising stress kinase downregulation and extending to neurotrophin expression. Various experimental models of AD, PD and HD indicate the usefulness of melatonin in antagonizing disease progression and/or mitigating some of the symptoms. Melatonin secretion has been found to be altered in AD and PD. Attempts to compensate for age- and disease-dependent melatonin deficiency have shown that administration of this compound can improve sleep efficiency in AD and PD and, to some extent, cognitive function in AD patients. Exogenous melatonin has also been reported to alleviate behavioral symptoms such as sundowning. Taken together, these findings suggest that melatonin, its analogues and kynuric metabolites may have potential value in prevention and treatment of AD and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Melatonin is a recognized antioxidant with high potential as a protective agent in many conditions related to oxidative stress such as neurodegenerative diseases, ischemia/reperfusion syndromes, sepsis and aging. These processes may be favorably affected by melatonin through its radical scavenging properties and/or antiapoptotic activity. Also, there is increasing evidence that these effects of melatonin could be relevant in keratinocytes, the main cell population of the skin where it would contribute to protection against damage induced by ultraviolet radiation (UVR). We therefore investigated the kinetics of UVR-induced apoptosis in cultured keratinocytes characterizing the morphological and mitochondrial changes, the caspases-dependent apoptotic pathways and involvement of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) activation as well as the protective effects of melatonin. When irradiated with UVB radiation (50 mJ/cm2), melatonin treated, cultured keratinocytes were more confluent, showed less cell blebbing, more uniform shape and less nuclear condensation as compared to irradiated, nonmelatonin-treated controls. Preincubation with melatonin also led to normalization of the decreased UVR-induced mitochondrial membrane potential. These melatonin effects were followed by suppression of the activation of mitochondrial pathway-related initiator caspase 9 (casp-9), but not of death receptor-dependent casp-8 between 24 and 48 hr after UVR exposure. Melatonin down-regulated effector caspases (casp-3/casp-7) at 24–48 hr post-UV irradiation and reduced PARP activation at 24 hr. Thus, melatonin is particularly active in UV-irradiated keratinocytes maintaining the mitochondrial membrane potential, inhibiting the consecutive activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway and reducing PARP activation. In conclusion, these data provide detailed evidence for specific antiapoptotic mechanisms of melatonin in UVR-induced damage of human keratinocytes.
antioxidant; apoptosis; caspases; keratinocytes; melatonin; mitochondria; poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase; ultraviolet radiation
Altered mitochondrial energy metabolism contributes to the pathophysiology of acute brain injury caused by ischemia, trauma, and neurotoxins and by chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. Although much evidence supports that the electron transport chain dysfunction in these metabolic abnormalities has both genetic and intracellular environmental causes, alternative mechanisms are being explored. These include direct, reversible inhibition of cytochrome oxidase by nitric oxide, release of mitochondrial cytochrome c, oxidative inhibition of mitochondrial matrix dehydrogenases and adenine nucleotide transport, the availability of NAD for dehydrogenase reactions, respiratory uncoupling by activities such as that of the permeability transition pore, and altered mitochondrial structure and intracellular trafficking. This review focuses on the catabolism of neuronal NAD and the release of neuronal mitochondrial NAD as important contributors to metabolic dysfunction. In addition, the relationship between apoptotic signaling cascades and disruption of mitochondrial energy metabolism is considered in light of the fine balance between apoptotic and necrotic neural cell death.
PARP-1; nitric oxide; calcium; apoptosis; mitochondrial permeability transition
Neuronal oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction have been implicated in Parkinson’s disease. Melatonin is a natural antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to effectively reduce cellular oxidative stress and protect mitochondrial functions in vitro. However, whether melatonin is capable of slowing down the neurodegenerative process in animal models of Parkinson’s disease remains controversial. In this research, we examined long-term melatonin treatment on striatal mitochondrial and dopaminergic functions and on animal locomotor performance in a chronic mouse model of Parkinson’s disease originally established in our laboratory by gradually treating C57BL/6 mice with 10 doses of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (15 mg/kg, s.c.) and probenecid (250 mg/kg, i.p.) over five weeks. We report here that when the chronic Parkinsonian mice were pre-treated and continuously treated with melatonin (5 mg/kg/day, i.p.) for 18 weeks, the defects of mitochondrial respiration, ATP and antioxidant enzyme levels detected in the striatum of chronic Parkinson’s mice were fully preempted. Meanwhile, the striatal dopaminergic and locomotor deficits seen in the chronic Parkinson’s mice were partially and significantly forestalled. These results imply that long-term melatonin is not only mitochondrial protective but also moderately neuronal protective in the chronic Parkinson’s mice. Melatonin may potentially be effective for slowing down the progression of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease and for reducing oxidative stress and respiratory chain inhibition in other mitochondrial disorders.
Parkinson’s disease; chronic MPTP/probenecid model; neurodegeneration; neuroprotection; mitochondrial dysfunction
Melatonin is an endogenous indoleamine present in different tissues, cellular compartments and organelles including mitochondria. When melatonin is administered orally, it is readily available to the brain where it counteracts different processes that occur during aging and age-related neurodegenerative disorders. These aging processes include oxidative stress and oxidative damage, chronic and acute inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction and loss of neural regeneration. This review summarizes age related changes in the brain and the importance of oxidative/nitrosative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in brain aging. The data and mechanisms of action of melatonin in relation to aging of the brain are reviewed as well.
Melatonin; mitochondria; oxidative stress; brain; aging; neurodegenerative diseases; neural stem cells.
Neurons are known to use large amounts of energy for their normal function and activity. In order to meet this demand, mitochondrial fission, fusion, and movement events (mitochondrial dynamics) control mitochondrial morphology, facilitating biogenesis and proper distribution of mitochondria within neurons. In contrast, dysfunction in mitochondrial dynamics results in reduced cell bioenergetics and thus contributes to neuronal injury and death in many neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. We recently reported that amyloid-β peptide, thought to be a key mediator of AD pathogenesis, engenders S-nitrosylation and thus hyperactivation of the mitochondrial fission protein Drp1. This activation leads to excessive mitochondrial fragmentation, bioenergetic compromise, and synaptic damage in models of AD. Here, we provide an extended commentary on our findings of nitric oxide-mediated abnormal mitochondrial dynamics.
S-Nitrosylation; Dynamin-related protein 1; Alzheimers’s disease; Mitochondrial fission
By producing ATP and regulating intracellular calcium levels, mitochondria are vital for the function and survival of neurons. Oxidative stress and damage to mitochondrial DNA during the aging process can impair mitochondrial energy metabolism and ion homeostasis in neurons, thereby rendering them vulnerable to degeneration. Mitochondrial abnormalities have been documented in all of the major neurodegenerative disorders - Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Mitochondrial DNA damage and dysfunction may be downstream of primary disease processes such as accumulation of pathogenic proteins. However, recent experimental evidence demonstrates that mitochondrial DNA damage responses play important roles in aging and in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Therapeutic interventions that target mitochondrial regulatory systems have been shown effective in cell culture and animal models, but their efficacy in humans remains to be established.
Melatonin, the hormone of darkness and messenger of the photoperiod, is also well known to exhibit strong direct and indirect antioxidant properties. Melatonin has previously been demonstrated to be a powerful organ protective substance in numerous models of injury; these beneficial effects have been attributed to the hormone’s intense radical scavenging capacity. The present report reviews the hepatoprotective potential of the pineal hormone in various models of oxidative stress in vivo, and summarizes the extensive literature showing that melatonin may be a suitable experimental substance to reduce liver damage after sepsis, hemorrhagic shock, ischemia/reperfusion, and in numerous models of toxic liver injury. Melatonin’s influence on hepatic antioxidant enzymes and other potentially relevant pathways, such as nitric oxide signaling, hepatic cytokine and heat shock protein expression, are evaluated. Based on recent literature demonstrating the functional relevance of melatonin receptor activation for hepatic organ protection, this article finally suggests that melatonin receptors could mediate the hepatoprotective actions of melatonin therapy.
Antioxidant enzymes; Hemorrhagic shock; Hepatoprotection; Ischemia; Liver; Liver function; Melatonin; Melatonin receptor; Ramelteon; Reperfusion; Sepsis; Toxic liver injury
Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to the pathophysiology of acute neurologic disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Bioenergetic failure is the primary cause of acute neuronal necrosis, and involves excitotoxicity-associated mitochondrial Ca2+ overload, resulting in opening of the inner membrane permeability transition pore and inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation. Mitochondrial energy metabolism is also very sensitive to inhibition by reactive O2 and nitrogen species, which modify many mitochondrial proteins, lipids, and DNA/RNA, thus impairing energy transduction and exacerbating free radical production. Oxidative stress and Ca2+-activated calpain protease activities also promote apoptosis and other forms of programmed cell death, primarily through modification of proteins and lipids present at the outer membrane, causing release of proapoptotic mitochondrial proteins, which initiate caspase-dependent and caspase-independent forms of cell death. This review focuses on three classifications of mitochondrial targets for neuroprotection. The first is mitochondrial quality control, maintained by the dynamic processes of mitochondrial fission and fusion and autophagy of abnormal mitochondria. The second includes targets amenable to ischemic preconditioning, e.g., electron transport chain components, ion channels, uncoupling proteins, and mitochondrial biogenesis. The third includes mitochondrial proteins and other molecules that defend against oxidative stress. Each class of targets exhibits excellent potential for translation to clinical neuroprotection.
biogenesis; mitophagy; Nrf2; oxidative stress; peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1a; protein kinase C
Sepsis-induced organ failure is the major cause of death in critical care units, and is characterized by a massive dysregulated inflammatory response and oxidative stress. We investigated the effects of treatment with antioxidants that protect mitochondria (MitoQ, MitoE, or melatonin) in a rat model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) plus peptidoglycan (PepG)-induced acute sepsis, characterized by inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction and early organ damage.
Anaesthetized and ventilated rats received an i.v. bolus of LPS and PepG followed by an i.v. infusion of MitoQ, MitoE, melatonin, or saline for 5 h. Organs and blood were then removed for determination of mitochondrial and organ function, oxidative stress, and key cytokines.
MitoQ, MitoE, or melatonin had broadly similar protective effects with improved mitochondrial respiration (P<0.002), reduced oxidative stress (P<0.02), and decreased interleukin-6 levels (P=0.0001). Compared with control rats, antioxidant-treated rats had lower levels of biochemical markers of organ dysfunction, including plasma alanine amino-transferase activity (P=0.02) and creatinine concentrations (P<0.0001).
Antioxidants that act preferentially in mitochondria reduce mitochondrial damage and organ dysfunction and decrease inflammatory responses in a rat model of acute sepsis.
co-enzyme Q10; interleukin-6; interleukin-10; melatonin; sepsis; tocopherol
Sleep disorders constitute major nonmotor features of Parkinson’s disease (PD) that have a substantial effect on patients’ quality of life and can be related to the progression of the neurodegenerative disease. They can also serve as preclinical markers for PD, as it is the case for rapid eye movement (REM)-associated sleep behavior disorder (RBD). Although the etiology of sleep disorders in PD remains undefined, the assessment of the components of the circadian system, including melatonin secretion, could give therapeutically valuable insight on their pathophysiopathology. Melatonin is a regulator of the sleep/wake cycle and also acts as an effective antioxidant and mitochondrial function protector. A reduction in the expression of melatonin MT1 and MT2 receptors has been documented in the substantia nigra of PD patients. The efficacy of melatonin for preventing neuronal cell death and for ameliorating PD symptoms has been demonstrated in animal models of PD employing neurotoxins. A small number of controlled trials indicate that melatonin is useful in treating disturbed sleep in PD, in particular RBD. Whether melatonin and the recently developed melatonergic agents (ramelteon, tasimelteon, agomelatine) have therapeutic potential in PD is also discussed.
agomelatine; insomnia; light therapy; melatonin; oxidative stress; Parkinson’s disease; ramelteon; REM sleep behavior disorder; tasimelteon
Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is a chemical mediator produced in the pineal gland and other sites in the body. The melatonin found in the blood is derived almost exclusively from the pineal gland. Since the pineal synthesizes melatonin primarily at night, blood levels of the indole are also higher at night (5–15 fold) than during the day. Some individuals on a nightly basis produce twice as much melatonin as others of the same age. Throughout life, the melatonin rhythm gradually wanes such that, in advanced age, melatonin production is usually at a minimum. Melatonin was recently found to be a free radical scavenger and antioxidant. It has been shown, in the experimental setting, to protect against both free radical induced DNA damage and oxidative stress-mediated lipid peroxidation. Pharmacologically, melatonin has been shown to reduce oxidative damage caused by such toxins as the chemical carcinogen safrole, carbon tetrachloride, paraquat, bacterial lipopolysaccharide, kainic acid, δ-aminolevulinic and amyloid β peptide of Alzheimer’s disease as well as a model of Parkinson’s disease involving the drug 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). Additionally, the oxidative damage caused by agents such as ionizing radiation and excessive exercise is reduced by melatonin. Since free radical-induced molecular injury may play a significant role in aging, melatonin’s ability to protect against it suggests a potential function of melatonin in deferring aging and age-related, free radical-based diseases. Besides its ability to abate oxidative damage, other beneficial features of melatonin may be important in combating the signs of aging; these include melatonin’s immune-stimulating function, its sleep-promoting ability, its function as an anti-viral agent, and general protective actions at the cellular level. Definitive tests of the specific functions of physiological levels of melatonin in processes of aging are currently being conducted.
Melatonin (n-acetyl-5-methoxy-tryptamine), a naturally occurring indole produced mainly by the pineal gland, is a well known antioxidant. Stroke (cerebral ischemia) is the second leading cause of death worldwide. To date, however, effective and safe treatment for stroke remains unavailable. Melatonin is both lipid- and water-soluble and readily crosses the blood–brain barrier (BBB). Increasing evidence has shown that, in animal stroke models, administering melatonin significantly reduces infarct volume, edema, and oxidative damage and improves electrophysiological and behavioral performance. Here, we reviewed studies that assess effects of melatonin on cerebral ischemia in acute, sub-acute, and chronic stages. In addition to its potent antioxidant properties, melatonin exerts antiapoptotic, antiexcitotoxic, anti-inflammatory effects and promotes mitochondrial functions in animals with cerebral ischemia. Given that melatonin shows almost no toxicity to humans and possesses multifaceted protective capacity against cerebral ischemia, it is valuable to consider using melatonin in clinical trials on patients suffering from stroke.
cerebral ischemia; melatonin; stroke; neuroprotection
Many age-associated disorders (including diabetes, cancer, and
neurodegenerative diseases) are linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, which
leads to impaired cellular bioenergetics and increased oxidative stress.
However, it is not known what genetic and molecular pathways underlie
differential vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction observed among
different cell types.
Starting with an insulinoma cell line as a model for a neuronal/endocrine
cell type, we isolated a novel subclonal line (named CRI-G1-RS) that was
more susceptible to cell death induced by mitochondrial respiratory chain
inhibitors than the parental CRI-G1 line (renamed CRI-G1-RR for clarity).
Compared to parental RR cells, RS cells were also more vulnerable to direct
oxidative stress, but equally vulnerable to mitochondrial uncoupling and
less vulnerable to protein kinase inhibition-induced apoptosis. Thus,
differential vulnerability to mitochondrial toxins between these two cell
types likely reflects differences in their ability to handle metabolically
generated reactive oxygen species rather than differences in ATP
production/utilization or in downstream apoptotic machinery. Genome-wide
gene expression analysis and follow-up biochemical studies revealed that, in
this experimental system, increased vulnerability to mitochondrial and
oxidative stress was associated with (1) inhibition of ARE/Nrf2/Keap1
antioxidant pathway; (2) decreased expression of antioxidant and phase I/II
conjugation enzymes, most of which are Nrf2 transcriptional targets; (3)
increased expression of molecular chaperones, many of which are also
considered Nrf2 transcriptional targets; (4) increased expression of β
cell-specific genes and transcription factors that specify/maintain β
cell fate; and (5) reconstitution of glucose-stimulated insulin
The molecular profile presented here will enable identification of individual
genes or gene clusters that shape vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction
and thus represent potential therapeutic targets for diabetes and
neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, the newly identified CRI-G1-RS cell
line represents a new experimental model for investigating how endogenous
antioxidants affect glucose sensing and insulin release by pancreatic β
A large body of evidence from post-mortem brain tissue and genetic analysis in man and biochemical and pathological studies in animal models (transgenic and toxin) of neurodegeneration suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction is a common pathological mechanism. Mitochondrial dysfunction due to oxidative stress, mitochondrial DNA deletions, pathological mutations, altered mitochondrial morphology and interaction of pathogenic proteins with mitochondria leads to neuronal demise. Therefore, therapeutic approaches targeting mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage hold great promise in neurodegenerative diseases. This review discusses the potential therapeutic efficacy of creatine, coenzyme Q10, idebenone, synthetic triterpenoids, and mitochondrial targeted antioxidants (MitoQ) and peptides (SS-31) in in vitro studies and in animal models of Parkinson's disease (PD), Huntington's disease (HD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). We have also reviewed the current status of clinical trials of creatine, coenzyme Q10, idebenone and MitoQ in neurodegenerative disorders. Further, we discuss newly identified therapeutic targets including PGC-1α and Sirtuins, which provide promise for future therapeutic developments in neurodegenerative disorders.
Coenzyme Q10; Creatine; Triterpenoids; PGC-1α; Parkinson's disease; Huntington's disease; Alzheimer's disease
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder with unknown etiology. It is marked by widespread neurodegeneration in the brain with profound loss of A9 midbrain dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta. Several theories of biochemical abnormalities have been linked to pathogenesis of PD of which mitochondrial dysfunction due to an impairment of mitochondrial complex I and subsequent oxidative stress seems to take the center stage in experimental models of PD and in postmortem tissues of sporadic forms of illness. Recent identification of specific gene mutations and their influence on mitochondrial functions has further reinforced the relevance of mitochondrial abnormalities in disease pathogenesis. In both sporadic and familial forms of PD abnormal mitochondrial paradigms associated with disease include impaired functioning of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, aging associated damage to mitochondrial DNA, impaired calcium buffering, and anomalies in mitochondrial morphology and dynamics. Here we provide an overview of specific mitochondrial functions affected in sporadic and familial PD that play a role in disease pathogenesis. We propose to utilize these gained insights to further streamline and focus the research to better understand mitochondria's role in disease development and exploit potential mitochondrial targets for therapeutic interventions in PD pathogenesis.
Mitochondrial dysfunction; Mitochondrial DNA; Electron transport chain; Permeability transition pore; α-synuclein; Parkin; PINK1; DJ-1; LRRK2
The pathological processes of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases engender synaptic and neuronal cell damage. While mild oxidative and nitrosative (nitric oxide (NO)-related) stress mediates normal neuronal signaling, excessive accumulation of these free radicals is linked to neuronal cell injury or death. In neurons, N-methyl--aspartate (NMDA) receptor (NMDAR) activation and subsequent Ca2+ influx can induce the generation of NO via neuronal NO synthase. Emerging evidence has demonstrated that S-nitrosylation, representing covalent reaction of an NO group with a critical protein thiol, mediates the vast majority of NO signaling. Analogous to phosphorylation and other posttranslational modifications, S-nitrosylation can regulate the biological activity of many proteins. Here, we discuss recent studies that implicate neuropathogenic roles of S-nitrosylation in protein misfolding, mitochondrial dysfunction, synaptic injury, and eventual neuronal loss. Among a growing number of S-nitrosylated proteins that contribute to disease pathogenesis, in this review we focus on S-nitrosylated protein-disulfide isomerase (forming SNO-PDI) and dynamin-related protein 1 (forming SNO-Drp1). Furthermore, we describe drugs, such as memantine and newer derivatives of this compound that can prevent both hyperactivation of extrasynaptic NMDARs as well as downstream pathways that lead to nitrosative stress, synaptic damage, and neuronal loss.
NMDA receptor; S-nitrosylation; misfolded protein; mitochondrial dysfunction; neurodegeneration
Mitochondrial dysfunction is a key pathologic event in cardiac ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury, and protection of mitochondrial function is a potential mechanism underlying ischemic preconditioning (IPC). Acknowledging the role of nitric oxide (NO•) in IPC, it was hypothesized that mitochondrial protein S-nitrosation may be a cardioprotective mechanism. The reagent S-nitroso-2-mercaptopropionyl-glycine (SNO-MPG) was therefore developed to enhance mitochondrial S-nitrosation and elicit cardioprotection. Within cardiomyocytes, mitochondrial proteins were effectively S-nitrosated by SNO-MPG. Consistent with the recent discovery of mitochondrial complex I as an S-nitrosation target, SNO-MPG inhibited complex I activity and cardiomyocyte respiration. The latter effect was insensitive to the NO• scavenger c-PTIO, indicating no role for NO•-mediated complex IV inhibition. A cardioprotective role for reversible complex I inhibition has been proposed, and consistent with this SNO-MPG protected cardiomyocytes from simulated IR injury. Further supporting a cardioprotective role for endogenous mitochondrial S-nitrosothiols, patterns of protein S-nitrosation were similar in mitochondria isolated from Langendorff perfused hearts subjected to IPC, and mitochondria or cells treated with SNO-MPG. The functional recovery of perfused hearts from IR injury was also improved under conditions which stabilized endogenous S-nitrosothiols (i.e. dark), or by pre-ischemic administration of SNO-MPG. Mitochondria isolated from SNO-MPG-treated hearts at the end of ischemia exhibited improved Ca2+ handling and lower ROS generation. Overall these data suggest that mitochondrial S-nitrosation and complex I inhibition constitute a protective signaling pathway that is amenable to pharmacologic augmentation.
Experimental Therapeutics; NO donor; S-nitrosothiol; Complex I; Preconditioning; MPG
Increasing evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress play a crucial role in the majority of neurodegenerative diseases. Mitochondria are a major source of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and are particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress. Oxidative damage to mitochondria has been shown to impair mitochondrial function and lead to cell death via apoptosis and necrosis. Because dysfunctional mitochondria will produce more ROS, a feed-forward loop is set up whereby ROS-mediated oxidative damage to mitochondria favors more ROS generation, resulting in a vicious cycle. It is now appreciated that reduction of mitochondrial oxidative stress may prevent or slow down the progression of these neurodegenerative disorders. However, if mitochondria are the major source of intracellular ROS and mitochondria are most vulnerable to oxidative damage, then it would be ideal to deliver the antioxidant therapy to mitochondria. This review will summarize the development of a novel class of mitochondria-targeted antioxidants that can protect mitochondria against oxidative stress and prevent neuronal cell death in animal models of stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Reactive oxygen species; mitochondrial permeability transition; apoptosis; necrosis; Parkinson’s disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a prototypical neurodegenerative disease in which there is selective neuronal degeneration, which leads to progressive disability, manifesting itself as a movement disorder, with both psychiatric and cognitive impairment. The disease is caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the huntingtin gene, which causes an expanded polyglutamine repeat in the huntingtin protein, resulting in a protein with a novel gain of function. The mutant huntingtin protein causes neuronal dysfunction and eventual cell death in which transcriptional impairment, excitotoxicity, oxidative damage, inflammation, apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction are all implicated. A critical transcriptional impairment may be impaired expression and function of PGC-1α, a master co-regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis and expression of antioxidant enzymes. A deficiency of PGC-1α leads to increased vulnerability to oxidative stress and to striatal degeneration. The extent and severity of the oxidative damage in HD are features well recognized but perhaps underappreciated. Oxidative damage occurs to lipids, proteins and DNA, and it has been suggested that the latter may contribute to CAG repeat expansion during DNA repair . A marked elevation of oxidized DNA bases occurs in patients’ plasma, which may provide a biomarker of disease progression. Antioxidants are effective in slowing disease progression in transgenic mouse models of HD, and show promise in human clinical trials. Strategies to transcriptionally increase expression of antioxidant enzymes by modulating the Nrf-2/ARE pathway, or by increasing expression of PGC-1α hold great promise for developing new treatments to slow or halt the progression of HD.
Mitochondrial dysfunction including that caused by oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Glutaredoxin 1 (Grx1), a cytosolic thiol disulfide oxido-reductase, reduces glutathionylated proteins to protein thiols and helps maintain redox status of proteins during oxidative stress. Grx1 downregulation aggravates mitochondrial dysfunction in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and motor neuron disease. We examined the mechanism underlying the regulation of mitochondrial function by Grx1. Downregulation of Grx1 by shRNA results in loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), which is prevented by the thiol antioxidant, α-lipoic acid, or by cyclosporine A, an inhibitor of mitochondrial permeability transition. The thiol groups of voltage dependent anion channel (VDAC), an outer membrane protein in mitochondria but not adenosine nucleotide translocase (ANT), an inner membrane protein, are oxidized when Grx1 is downregulated. We then examined the effect of β-N-oxalyl amino-L-alanine (L-BOAA), an excitatory amino acid implicated in neurolathyrism (a type of motor neuron disease), that causes mitochondrial dysfunction. Exposure of cells to L-BOAA resulted in loss of MMP, which was prevented by overexpression of Grx1. Grx1 expression is regulated by estrogen in the CNS and treatment of SH-SY5Y cells with estrogen upregulated Grx1 and protected from L-BOAA mediated MMP loss. Our studies demonstrate that Grx1, a cytosolic oxido-reductase, helps maintain mitochondrial integrity and prevents MMP loss caused by oxidative insult. Further, downregulation of Grx1 leads to mitochondrial dysfunction through oxidative modification of the outer membrane protein, VDAC, providing support for the critical role of Grx1 in maintenance of MMP.
Mitochondria are cytoplasmic organelles responsible for life and death. Extensive evidence from animal models, postmortem brain studies of and clinical studies of aging and neurodegenerative diseases suggests that mitochondrial function is defective in aging and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Several lines of research suggest that mitochondrial abnormalities, including defects in oxidative phosphorylation, increased accumulation of mitochondrial DNA defects, impaired calcium influx, accumulation of mutant proteins in mitochondria, and mitochondrial membrane potential dissipation are important cellular changes in both early and late-onset neurodegenerative diseases. Further, emerging evidence suggests that structural changes in mitochondria, including increased mitochondrial fragmentation and decreased mitochondrial fusion, are critical factors associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death in aging and neurodegenerative diseases. This paper discusses research that elucidates features of mitochondria that are associated with cellular dysfunction in aging and neurodegenerative diseases and discusses mitochondrial structural and functional changes, and abnormal mitochondrial dynamics in neurodegenerative diseases. It also outlines mitochondria-targeted therapeutics in neurodegenerative diseases.
Abnormal mitochondrial dynamics; Aging; Alzheimer’s disease; Huntington’s disease; Mitochondria; Mitochondria-targeted antioxidants; Neurodegenerative Disease; Parkinson’s disease
Ischemia/reperfusion (IR) injury is a central component in the pathogenesis of several diseases and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the western world. Subcellularly, mitochondrial dysfunction, characterized by depletion of ATP, calcium-induced opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore, and exacerbated reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, plays an integral role in the progression of IR injury. Nitric oxide (NO) and more recently nitrite (NO2-) are known to modulate mitochondrial function, mediate cytoprotection after IR and have been implicated in the signaling of the highly protective ischemic preconditioning (IPC) program. Here, we review what is known about the role of NO and nitrite in cytoprotection after IR and consider the putative role of nitrite in IPC. Focus is placed on the potential cytoprotective mechanisms involving NO and nitrite-dependent modulation of mitochondrial function.
Besides fluorine, oxygen is the most electronegative element with the
highest reduction potential in biological systems. Metabolic pathways in
mammalian cells utilize oxygen as the ultimate oxidizing agent to harvest free
energy. They are very efficient, but not without risk of generating various oxygen
radicals. These cells have good antioxidative defense mechanisms to neutralize
these radicals and prevent oxidative stress. However, increased oxidative stress
results in oxidative modifications in lipid, protein, and nucleic acids, leading to
mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death. Oxidative stress and mitochondrial
dysfunction have been implicated in many neurodegenerative disorders including
Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and stroke-related brain damage.
Research has indicated mitochondria play a central role in cell suicide. An
increase in oxidative stress causes mitochondrial dysfunction, leading to more
production of reactive oxygen species and eventually mitochondrial membrane
permeabilization. Once the mitochondria are destabilized, cells are destined to
commit suicide. Therefore, antioxidative agents alone are not sufficient to protect
neuronal loss in many neurodegenerative diseases. Combinatorial treatment with
antioxidative agents could stabilize mitochondria and may be the most suitable
strategy to prevent neuronal loss. This review discusses recent work related to
oxidative toxicity in the central nervous system and strategies to treat
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been reported in a wide array of neurological disorders ranging from neuromuscular to neurodegenerative diseases. Recent studies on neurodegenerative diseases have revealed that mitochondrial pathology is generally found in inherited or sporadic neurodegenerative diseases and is believed to be involved in the pathophysiological process of these diseases. Commonly seen types of mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases include excessive free radical generation, lowered ATP production, mitochondrial permeability transition, mitochondrial DNA lesions, perturbed mitochondrial dynamics and apoptosis. Mitochondrial medicine as an emerging therapeutic strategy targeted to mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases has been proven to be of value, though this area of research is still at in its early stage. In this article, we report on recent progress in the development of several mitochondrial therapies including antioxidants, blockade of mitochondrial permeability transition, and mitochondrial gene therapy as evidence that mitochondrial medicine has promise in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
Mitochondria; Mitochondrial pathology; Mitochondrial medicine; Neurodegeneration; Neurodegenerative diseases