Oxidized metabolites of dopamine known as dopamine quinone derivatives are thought to play a pivotal role in the degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease. Although such quinone derivatives are usually produced via the autoxidation of catecholamines, tyrosinase, which is a key enzyme in melanin biosynthesis via the production of DOPA and subsequent molecules, can potentially accelerate the induction of catecholamine quinone derivatives by its oxidase activity. We have developed neuronal cell lines in which the expression of human tyrosinase was inducible. Overexpression of tyrosinase resulted in increased intracellular dopamine content in association with the formation of melanin pigments in neuronal somata, which eventually causes apoptotic cell death. This cellular model will provide a useful tool for detailed analyses of the neurotoxicity of oxidized catechol metabolites.
- Cellular model
- Parkinson's disease