Tetrahydrobiopterin scavenges superoxide in dopaminergic neurons

The Journal of Biological Chemistry
K NakamuraU J Kang


Increased oxidative stresses are implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease, and dopaminergic neurons may be intrinsically susceptible to oxidative damage. However, the selective presence of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH(4)) makes dopaminergic neurons more resistant to oxidative stress caused by glutathione depletion. To further investigate the mechanisms of BH(4) protection, we examined the effects of BH(4) on superoxide levels in individual living mesencephalic neurons. Dopaminergic neurons have intrinsically lower levels of superoxide than nondopaminergic neurons. In addition, inhibiting BH(4) synthesis increased superoxide in dopaminergic neurons, while BH(4) supplementation decreased superoxide in nondopaminergic cells. BH(4) is also a cofactor in catecholamine and NO production. In order to exclude the possibility that the antioxidant effects of BH(4) are mediated by dopamine and NO, we used fibroblasts in which neither catecholamine nor NO production occurs. In fibroblasts, BH(4) decreased baseline reactive oxygen species, and attenuated reactive oxygen species increase by rotenone and antimycin A. Physiologic concentrations of BH(4) directly scavenged superoxide generated by potassium superoxide in vitro. We hypoth...Continue Reading


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