Molecular analysis of Sigma-1 receptor modulation of the dopamine transporter

Fazio, Nicola (2010) Molecular analysis of Sigma-1 receptor modulation of the dopamine transporter, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Farmacologia e tossicologia, 22 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/2969.
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Sigma (σ) receptors are well established as a non-opioid, non-phencyclidine, and haloperidol-sensitive receptor family with its own binding profile and a characteristic distribution in the central nervous system (CNS) as well as in endocrine, immune, and some peripheral tissues. Two σ receptors subtypes, termed σ1 and σ2, have been pharmacologically characterized, but, to date, only the σ1 has also been cloned. Activation of σ1 receptors alter several neurotransmitter systems and dopamine (DA) neurotrasmission has been often shown to constitute an important target of σ receptors in different experimental models; however the exact role of σ1 receptor in dopaminergic neurotransmission remains unclear. The DA transporter (DAT) modulates the spatial and temporal aspects of dopaminergic synaptic transmission and interprer the primary mechanism by wich dopaminergic neurons terminate the signal transmission. For this reason present studies have been focused in understanding whether, in cell models, the human subtype of σ1 (hσ1) receptor is able to directly modulate the human DA transporter (hDAT). In the first part of this thesis, HEK-293 and SH-SY5Y cells were permanently transfected with the hσ1 receptor. Subsequently, they were transfected with another plasmid for transiently expressing the hDAT. The hDAT activity was estimated using the described [3H]DA uptake assay and the effects of σ ligands were evaluated by measuring the uptaken [3H]DA after treating the cells with known σ agonists and antagonists. Results illustrated in this thesis demonstrate that activation of overexpressed hσ1 receptors by (+)-pentazocine, the σ1 agonist prototype, determines an increase of 40% of the extracellular [3H]DA uptake, in comparison to non-treated controls and the σ1 antagonists BD-1047 and NE-100 prevent the positive effect of (+)-pentazocine on DA reuptake DA is likely to be considered a neurotoxic molecule. In fact, when levels of intracellular DA abnormally invrease, vescicles can’t sequester the DA which is metabolized by MAO (A and B) and COMT with consequent overproduction of oxygen reactive species and toxic catabolites. Stress induced by these molecules leads cells to death. Thus, for the second part of this thesis, experiments have been performed in order to investigate functional alterations caused by the (+)-pentazocine-mediated increase of DA uptake; particularly it has been investigated if the increase of intracellular [DA] could affect cells viability. Results obtained from this study demonstrate that (+)-pentazocine alone increases DA cell toxicity in a concentration-dependent manner only in cells co-expressing hσ1 and hDAT and σ1 antagonists are able to revert the (+)-pentazocine-induced increase of cell susceptibility to DA toxicity. In the last part of this thesis, the functional cross-talking between hσ1 receptor and hDAT has been further investigated using confocal microscopy. From the acquired data it could be suggested that, following exposure to (+)-pentazocine, the hσ1 receptors massively translocate towards the plasma membrane and colocalize with the hDATs. However, any physical interaction between the two proteins remains to be proved. In conclusion, the presented study shows for the first time that, in cell models, hσ1 receptors directly modulate the hDAT activity. Facilitation of DA uptake induced by (+)-pentazocine is reflected on the increased cell susceptibility to DA toxicity; these effects are prevented by σ1 selective antagonists. Since numerous compounds, including several drugs of abuse, bind to σ1 receptors and activating them could facilitate the damage of dopaminergic neurons, the reported protective effect showed by σ1 antagonists would represent the pharmacological basis to test these compounds in experimental models of dopaminergic neurodegenerative diseases (i.e. Parkinson’s Disease).

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Fazio, Nicola
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Sigma receptor, pentazocine, dopamine transporter, dopamine, uptake, Parkinson
Data di discussione
15 Aprile 2010

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