Dopamine Oxidation Alters Mitochondrial Respiration and Induces Permeability Transition in Brain Mitochondria

Implications for Parkinson’s Disease


  • Preliminary reports of these findings were presented at the 27th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans, LA, U.S.A., October 25-30, 1997.

  • Abbreviations used : CsA, cyclosporin A ; DA, dopamine ; H2O2, hydrogen peroxide ; MAO, monoamine oxidase ; O2.-, superoxide anion ; 6-OHDA, 6-hydroxydopamine ; PD, Parkinson’s disease ; PTP, permeability transition pore ; ROS, reactive oxygen species ; SOD, superoxide dismutase ; TMPD, N,N,N’,N’-tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. T. G. Hastings at Department of Neurology, S-505 Biomedical Science Tower, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, U.S.A.


Abstract : Both reactive dopamine metabolites and mitochondrial dysfunction have been implicated in the neurodegeneration of Parkinson’s disease. Dopamine metabolites, dopamine quinone and reactive oxygen species, can directly alter protein function by oxidative modifications, and several mitochondrial proteins may be targets of this oxidative damage. In this study, we examined, using isolated brain mitochondria, whether dopamine oxidation products alter mitochondrial function. We found that exposure to dopamine quinone caused a large increase in mitochondrial resting state 4 respiration. This effect was prevented by GSH but not superoxide dismutase and catalase. In contrast, exposure to dopamine and monoamine oxidase-generated hydrogen peroxide resulted in a decrease in active state 3 respiration. This inhibition was prevented by both pargyline and catalase. We also examined the effects of dopamine oxidation products on the opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore, which has been implicated in neuronal cell death. Dopamine oxidation to dopamine quinone caused a significant increase in swelling of brain and liver mitochondria. This was inhibited by both the pore inhibitor cyclosporin A and GSH, suggesting that swelling was due to pore opening and related to dopamine quinone formation. In contrast, dopamine and endogenous monoamine oxidase had no effect on mitochondrial swelling. These findings suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction induced by products of dopamine oxidation may be involved in neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity.