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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Nitric-oxide-induced depolarization of neuronal mitochondria: implications for neuronal cell death.

Nitric oxide (NO(*)) has known toxic effects on central nervous system neurons. This study characterized the effect of NO(*) on mitochondrial membrane changes by exploring the relationship among NO(*), excitatory receptor activation, and the induction of peroxynitrite, a highly toxic NO(*) reactant, to neuronal injury. Cultured rat cortical neurons were exposed to the NO(*) generator, diethylenetriamine/nitric oxide adduct, and were examined for signs of cell death, mitochondrial membrane potential changes (Deltapsi(m)), and the induction of a mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT). Neurons were also examined for nitrotyrosine (NT) immunoreactivity, a marker of reactive nitrogen species (RNS) formation. Neurons exposed to NO(*) or to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) exhibited similar rapid depolarization of mitochondria, which was prevented by an NMDA receptor antagonist. Electrophysiological studies demonstrated NO(*) potentiation of NMDA-induced NMDA receptor currents. NO(*) and NMDA-treated neurons had evidence of mitochondrial-specific NT immunoreactivity that was prevented by a SOD/catalase mimetic (EUK-134). EUK-134 treatment reduced both NO(*) and NMDA-induced NT formation and neuronal cell death. EUK-134 did not prevent NO-induced Deltapsi(m) but partially prevented NMDA-induced Deltapsi(m) loss. Although NO(*) and NMDA both induced MPT and MPT inhibitors prevented NO-induced Deltapsi(m), they did not result in significant neuroprotection, in contrast to treatment designed to decrease peroxynitrite formation. These data suggest that NO-induced NMDA receptor activation is closely linked to intramitochondrial NO-peroxynitrite/RNS formation and thereby acts as a major mediator of neuronal cell death.[1]


  1. Nitric-oxide-induced depolarization of neuronal mitochondria: implications for neuronal cell death. Solenski, N.J., Kostecki, V.K., Dovey, S., Periasamy, A. Mol. Cell. Neurosci. (2003) [Pubmed]
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