The decrease of NAD(P)H has a prominent role in dopamine toxicity

P. Giménez-Xavier, C. Gómez-Santos, E. Castaño, R. Francisco, J. Boada, M. Unzeta, E. Sanz, S. Ambrosio

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17 Citations (Scopus)


We characterized dopamine toxicity in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells as a direct effect of dopamine on cell reductive power, measured as NADH and NADPH cell content. In cell incubations with 100 or 500 μM dopamine, the accumulation of dopamine inside the cell reached a maximum after 6 h. The decrease in cell viability was 40% and 75%, respectively, after 24 h, and was not altered by MAO inhibition with tranylcypromine. Dopamine was metabolized to DOPAC by mitochondrial MAO and, at 500 μM concentration, significantly reduced mitochondrial potential and oxygen consumption. This DA concentration caused only a slight increase in cell peroxidation in the absence of Fe(III), but a dramatic decrease in NADH and NADPH cell content and a concomitant decrease in total cell NAD(P)H/NAD(P)+ and GSH/GSSG and in mitochondrial NADH/NAD+ ratios. Dopaminechrome, a product of dopamine oxidation, was found to be a MAO-A inhibitor and a strong oxidizer of NADH and NADPH in a cell-free system. We conclude that dopamine may affect NADH and NADPH oxidation directly. When the intracellular concentrations of NAD(P)H and oxidized dopamine are similar, NAD(P)H triggers a redox cycle with dopamine that leads to its own consumption. The time-course of NADH and NADPH oxidation by dopamine was assessed in cell-free assays: NAD(P)H concentration decreased at the same time as dopamine oxidation advanced. The break in cell redox equilibrium, not excluding the involvement of free oxygen radicals, could be sufficient to explain the toxicity of dopamine in dopaminergic neurons. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-574
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006


  • Dopamine
  • NAD(P)H/NAD(P)+
  • NADH
  • SH-SY5Y cell


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