Although the etiology of Parkinson's disease (PD) has not been defined, epidemiological studies have indicated a correlation between increased risk for PD and occupational exposure to pesticides including paraquat, a widely used herbicide. Interestingly, treatment of mice with paraquat produces many key features of PD including dopaminergic neuron degeneration in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) of the brain and formation of 1-synuclein containing inclusion bodies. Therefore, studies of paraquat-induced dopaminergic neuron death may provide important new information concerning mechanisms governing the death and survival of dopaminergic neurons and thereby provide important new insights concerning the molecular basis of PD. Recently, we discovered that paraquat selectively kills dopaminergic neurons in primary cultures by a mechanism that requires activation of the c-Jun NH2-terminal protein kinase (JNK) and JNK-induced gene expression. Furthermore, paraquat-induced dopaminergic neuron death is inhibited by bFGF. This proposal is based upon the hypothesis that JNK, specifically the neurospecific JNK3 isoform, plays an important role in paraquat-induced death of dopaminergic neurons, and that this cell death may be mediated by BimEL and antagonized by bFGF. These mechanistic studies should provide critical information concerning the molecular basis of dopaminergic neuron death in the paraquat model of PD. Furthermore, our proposed research meets the goals of NIEHS strategic plan, especially to "support research that improves our understanding of signal transduction pathways and their influence on disease" under goal #2, which is to "use environmental toxicants to understand basic mechanisms in human biology".

Public Health Relevance

Parkinson's disease is the second most common aging-related neurodegenerative disorder. We propose to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying paraquat-induced dopaminergic neuron death in vitro and in vivo. These mechanistic studies should provide critical information concerning the molecular basis of dopaminergic neuron death in the paraquat model of Parkinson's disease, and may provide important new insights concerning the molecular basis Parkinson's disease.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01ES013696-05
Application #
8289597
Study Section
Neurotoxicology and Alcohol Study Section (NAL)
Program Officer
Lawler, Cindy P
Project Start
2008-08-15
Project End
2014-06-30
Budget Start
2012-07-01
Budget End
2014-06-30
Support Year
5
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$344,016
Indirect Cost
$123,493
Name
University of Washington
Department
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Type
Schools of Public Health
DUNS #
605799469
City
Seattle
State
WA
Country
United States
Zip Code
98195
Choi, Won-Seok; Kim, Hyung-Wook; Xia, Zhengui (2013) Preparation of primary cultured dopaminergic neurons from mouse brain. Methods Mol Biol 1018:61-9
Choi, Won-Seok; Palmiter, Richard D; Xia, Zhengui (2011) Loss of mitochondrial complex I activity potentiates dopamine neuron death induced by microtubule dysfunction in a Parkinson's disease model. J Cell Biol 192:873-82
Choi, Won-Seok; Klintworth, Heather M; Xia, Zhengui (2011) JNK3-mediated apoptotic cell death in primary dopaminergic neurons. Methods Mol Biol 758:279-92
Choi, Won-Seok; Abel, Glen; Klintworth, Heather et al. (2010) JNK3 mediates paraquat- and rotenone-induced dopaminergic neuron death. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 69:511-20
Klintworth, Heather; Garden, Gwenn; Xia, Zhengui (2009) Rotenone and paraquat do not directly activate microglia or induce inflammatory cytokine release. Neurosci Lett 462:1-5