The cellular pathways underlying naturally occurring neuronal apoptosis in the rat substantia nigra (SN) during the perinatal period remain largely unknown. Determining the mediators of this process in development may shed light on causes of premature neuronal death in adult neurodegenerative disorders, including the loss of dopamine neurons in Parkinson's disease. In the present study, we investigated whether lipid peroxidation-mediated oxidative stress mediates developmental death of nigral neurons by (1) establishing the profile of lipid peroxidation and other oxidative stress markers throughout the postnatal period both in the SN and striatum, and (2) examining whether the inhibitor of lipid peroxidation, α-tocopherol, protects these neurons from death. In addition to monitoring, the level of lipid peroxidation throughout development, we also measured the activities of three antioxidant enzymes, namely superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase and glutathione peroxidase (GPx). We have shown that lipid peroxidation and SOD activity progressively increased from postnatal day (PND) 3 to PND 42 in both SN and striatum. During this period, GPx activity remained stable, while catalase activity transiently increased at PND 8 only in the SN. Furthermore, α-tocopherol treatment from embryonic day 18 to PND 2 did not reduce the number of apoptotic neurons at PND 3. These results do not support the hypothesis that lipid peroxidation-mediated oxidative stress is the major mediator of nigral dopamine neuronal apoptosis during the perinatal period.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology