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Accumulating evidences suggest that the related autophagy-lysosomal mechanism plays a critical role in many neurodegenerative disorders. In this study, we examined postmortem Parkinson's disease (PD) substantia nigra for evidence of cathepsin L by immunofluorescent staining, and found increased expression of cathepsin L in dopamine neurons of PD patients. We confirmed 6-OHDA induced nuclear translocation of cathepsin L in rat substantia nigral neurons as well. Furthermore, we observed autophagic vacuoles and lysosomes were accumulated in the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) injured rat substantia nigra neurons with electron microscopy. Immunofluorescent staining showed that LC3 was enriched in dopamine neurons after 6-OHDA treatment. When pretreated with 3-methyladenine (3-MA), dopaminergic neurons were protected from cell death induced by 6-OHDA, associated with the suppression of LC3 and cathepsin L. Our results demonstrate that activation of autophagy and abnormal distribution of cathepsin L may be responsible for dopamine neuron death, involved in the pathogenic cascade event for the development of Parkinson's disease. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Lingyun Li, Xiaoxia Wang, Xifeng Fei, Liping Xia, Zhenghong Qin, Zhongqin Liang. Parkinson's disease involves autophagy and abnormal distribution of cathepsin L. Neuroscience letters. 2011 Feb 1;489(1):62-7

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PMID: 21134415

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