Oxidative stress and mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in dopaminergic cells exposed to methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl

Masashi Kitazawa, Jarrad R. Wagner, Michael L. Kirby, Vellareddy Anantharam, Anumantha G. Kanthasamy

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79 Scopus citations


Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT), an organic manganese-containing gasoline additive, was investigated to determine whether MMT potentially causes dopaminergic neurotoxic effects. MMT is acutely cytotoxic and dopamine-producing cells (PC-12) seemed to be more susceptible to cytotoxic effects than nondopaminergic cells (striatal γ-aminobutyric acidergic and cerebellar granule cells). MMT also potently depleted dopamine apparently by cytoplasmic vesicular release to the cytosol, a neurochemical change resembling other dopaminergic neurotoxicants. Generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), an early effect in toxicantinduced apoptosis, occurred within 15 min of MMT exposure. MMT caused a loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨm), a likely source of ROS generation. The ROS signal further activated caspase-3, an important effector caspase, which could be inhibited by antioxidants (Trolox or N-acetyl cysteine). Predepletion of dopamine by using α-methyl-p-tyrosine (tyrosine hydroxylase inhibitor) treatment partially prevented caspase-3 activation, denoting a significant dopamine and/or dopamine by-product contribution to initiation of apoptosis. Genomic DNA fragmentation, a terminal hallmark of apoptosis, was induced concentration dependently by MMT but completely prevented by pretreatment with Trolox, deprenyl (monoamine oxidase-B inhibitor), and α-methyl-p-tyrosine. A final set of critical experiments was performed to verify the pharmacological studies using a stable Bcl-2-overexpressing PC-12 cell line. Bcl-2-overexpressing cells were significantly refractory to MMT-induced ROS generation, caspase-3 activation, and loss of ΔΨm and were completely resistant to MMT-induced DNA fragmentation. Taken together, the results presented herein demonstrate that oxidative stress plays an important role in mitochondrial-mediated apoptotic cell death in cultured dopamine-producing cells after exposure to MMT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-35
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


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