Pgc-1α Overexpression Downregulates Pitx3 and Increases Susceptibility to MPTP Toxicity Associated with Decreased Bdnf
Silvaggi, Jessica M.
Clore, Elizabeth L.
Bass, Caroline E.
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CitationClark, Joanne, Jessica M. Silvaggi, Tomas Kiselak, Kangni Zheng, Elizabeth L. Clore, Ying Dai, Caroline E. Bass, and David K. Simon. 2012. Pgc-1α overexpression downregulates Pitx3 and increases susceptibility to MPTP toxicity associated with decreased bdnf. PLoS ONE 7(11): e48925.
AbstractMultiple mechanisms likely contribute to neuronal death in Parkinson’s disease (PD), including mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma co-activator-1 alpha (PGC-1α) positively regulates the expression of genes required for mitochondrial biogenesis and the cell’s antioxidant responses. Also, expression of PGC-1α-regulated genes is low in substantia nigra (SN) neurons in early PD. Thus upregulation of PGC-1α is a candidate neuroprotective strategy in PD. Here, an adeno-associated virus (AAV) was used to induce unilateral overexpression of Pgc-1α, or a control gene, in the SN of wild-type C57BL/6CR mice. Three weeks after AAV administration, mice were treated with saline or MPTP. Overexpression of Pgc-1α in the SN induced expression of target genes, but unexpectedly it also greatly reduced the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (Th) and other markers of the dopaminergic phenotype with resultant severe loss of striatal dopamine. Reduced Th expression was associated with loss of Pitx3, a transcription factor that is critical for the development and maintenance of dopaminergic cells. Expression of the neurotrophic factor Bdnf, which also is regulated by Pitx3, similarly was reduced. Overexpression of Pgc-1α also led to increased sensitivity to MPTP-induced death of Th+ neurons. Pgc-1α overexpression alone, in the absence of MPTP treatment, did not lead to cell loss in the SN or to loss of dopaminergic terminals. These data demonstrate that overexpression of Pgc-1α results in dopamine depletion associated with lower levels of Pitx3 and enhances susceptibility to MPTP. These data may have ramifications for neuroprotective strategies targeting overexpression of PGC-1α in PD.
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