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A Novel Mitochondria-Targeting Iron Chelator Neuroprotects Multimodally via HIF-1 Modulation Against a Mitochondrial Toxin in a Dopaminergic Cell Model of Parkinson’s Disease

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Joanna Elson, Dr Ilse Pienaar


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© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Coumarins are plant-derived polyphenolic compounds belonging to the benzopyrones family, possessing wide-ranging pharmaceutical applications including cytoprotection, which may translate into therapeutic potential for multiple diseases, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). Here we demonstrate the neuroprotective potential of a new polyhydroxyl coumarin, N-(1,3-dihydroxy-2-(hydroxymethyl)propan-2-yl)-2-(7-hydroxy-2-oxo-2H-chromen-4-yl)acetamide (CT51), against the mitochondrial toxin 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+). MPP+’s mechanism of toxicity relates to its ability to inhibit complex I of the mitochondrial electron transport chain (METC), leading to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) depletion, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and apoptotic cell death, hence mimicking PD-related neuropathology. Dopaminergic differentiated human neuroblastoma cells were briefly pretreated with CT51, followed by toxin exposure. CT51 significantly restored somatic cell viability and neurite processes; hence, the drug targets cell bodies and axons thereby preserving neural function and circuitry against PD-related damage. Moreover, MPP+ emulates the iron dyshomeostasis affecting dopaminergic neurons in PD-affected brains, whilst CT51 was previously revealed as an effective iron chelator that preferentially partitions to mitochondria. We extend these findings by characterising the drug’s interactive effects at the METC level. CT51 did not improve mitochondrial coupling efficiency. However, voltammetric measurements and high-resolution respirometry analysis revealed that CT51 acts as an antioxidant agent. Also, the neuronal protection afforded by CT51 associated with downregulating MPP+-induced upregulated expression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α), a protein which regulates iron homeostasis and protects against certain forms of oxidative stress after translocating to mitochondria. Our findings support the further development of CT51 as a dual functioning iron chelator and antioxidant antiparkinsonian agent.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fouche B, Turner S, Gorham R, Stephenson EJ, Gutbier S, Elson JL, Garcia-Beltran O, Van Der Westhuizen FH, Pienaar IS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Molecular Neurobiology

Year: 2023

Volume: 60

Pages: 749-767

Print publication date: 01/02/2023

Online publication date: 11/11/2022

Acceptance date: 25/10/2022

ISSN (print): 0893-7648

ISSN (electronic): 1559-1182

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s12035-022-03107-8


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