3 years ago

Harmane-induced selective dopaminergic neurotoxicity in C. elegans.

Jason R Cannon, Shreesh Raj Sammi, Zeynep Sena Agim
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease. While numerous exposures have been linked to PD etiology, causative factors for most cases remain largely unknown. Emerging data on the neurotoxicity of heterocyclic amines suggest that this class of compounds should be examined for relevance to PD. Here, using C. elegans as a model system, we tested whether harmane exposure produced selective toxicity to dopamine neurons that is potentially relevant to PD. Harmane is a known tremorigenic β-carboline (a type of heterocyclic amine) found in cooked meat, roasted coffee beans, and tobacco. Thus, this compound represents a potentially important exposure. In the nematode model, we observed dopaminergic neurons to be selectively vulnerable, showing significant loss in terms of structure and function at lower doses than other neuronal populations. In examining mechanisms of toxicity, we observed significant harmane-induced decreases in mitochondrial viability and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. Blocking transport through the dopamine transporter (DAT) was not neuroprotective, suggesting that harmane is unlikely to enter the cell through DAT. However, a mitochondrial complex I activator did partially ameliorate neurodegeneration. Further, mitochondrial complex I activator treatment reduced harmane-induced dopamine depletion, measured by the 1-nonanol assay. In summary, we have shown that harmane exposure in C. elegans produces selective dopaminergic neurotoxicity that may bear relevance to PD, and that neurotoxicity may be mediated through mitochondrial mechanisms.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfx223

DOI: 10.1093/toxsci/kfx223

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