Nicotine protects against manganese and iron-induced toxicity in SH-SY5Y cells: Implication for Parkinson's disease

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Manganese (Mn) and iron (Fe) are trace elements that are essential for proper growth and physiological functions as both play critical role in a variety of enzymatic reactions. At high concentrations, however, they can be toxic and cause neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Parkinson-like syndromes. Nicotine, on the other hand, has been shown to have neuroprotective effects against various endogenous or exogenous toxins that selectively damage the dopaminergic cells. These cells include neuroblastoma-derived SH-SY5Y cells which express significant dopaminergic activity. However, practically no information on possible neuroprotective effects of nicotine against toxicity induced by trace elements is available. Therefore, in this study we investigated the effects of nicotine on toxicity induced by manganese or iron in these cells. Exposure of SH-SY5Y cells for 24 h to manganese (20 μM) or iron (20 μM) resulted in approximately 30% and 35% toxicity, respectively. Pretreatment with nicotine (1 μM) completely blocked the toxicities of Mn and Fe. The effects of nicotine, in turn, were blocked by selective nicotinic receptor antagonists. Thus, dihydro-beta erythroidine (DHBE), a selective alpha 4-beta 2 subtype antagonist and methyllycaconitine (MLA), a selective alpha7 antagonist, as well as mecamylamine, a non-selective nicotinic antagonist all dose-dependently blocked the protective effects of nicotine against both Mn and Fe. These findings provide further support for the potential utility of nicotine or nicotinic agonists in Parkinson's disease-like neurodegenerative disorders, including those that might be precipitated by trace elements, such as Fe and Mn. Moreover, both alpha4-beta2 and alpha7 nicotinic receptor subtypes appear to mediate the neuroprotective effects of nicotine against toxicity induced by these two trace metals.

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