The Docosanoid Neuroprotectin D1 Induces TH-Positive Neuronal Survival in a Cellular Model of Parkinson’s Disease

Jorgelina M. Calandria, Michelle W. Sharp, Nicolas G. Bazan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Parkinson’s disease (PD) does not manifest clinically until 80 % of striatal dopamine is reduced, thus most neuronal damage takes place before the patient presents clinical symptoms. Therefore, it is important to develop preventive strategies for this disease. In the experimental models of PD, 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP+) and rotenone induce toxicity in dopaminergic neurons. Neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) displays neuroprotection in cells undergoing proteotoxic and oxidative stress. In the present report, we established an in vitro model using a primary neuronal culture from mesencephalic embryonic mouse tissue in which 17–20 % of neurons were TH-positive when differentiated in vitro. NPD1 (100 nM) rescued cells from apoptosis induced by MPP+ and rotenone, and the dendritic arbor of surviving neurons was examined using Sholl analysis. Rotenone, as well as MPP+ and its precursor 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), severely promoted retraction of dendritic arbor distal segments, thus decreasing the maximum branch order reached. On average, NPD1 counteracted the effects of MPP+ on the dendritic arborization, but failed to do so in the rotenone-treated neurons. However, rotenone did decrease the Sholl intersection number from radii 25 to 125 µm, and NPD1 did restore the pattern to control levels. Similarly, NPD1 partially reverted the dendrite retraction caused by MPP+ and MPTP. These results suggest that the apoptosis occurring in mesencephalic TH-positive neurons is not a direct consequence of mitochondrial dysfunction alone and that NPD1 signaling may be counteracting this damage. These findings lay the groundwork for the use of the in vitro model developed for future studies and for the search of specific molecular events that NPD1 targets to prevent early neurodegeneration in PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1127-1136
Number of pages10
JournalCellular and molecular neurobiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • MPP+
  • Neuroprotectin D1
  • Neuroprotection
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • TH-positive neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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