Oxidative stress defines the neuroprotective or neurotoxic properties of androgens in immortalized female rat dopaminergic neuronal cells

Shaletha Holmes, Babak Abbassi, Chang Su, Meharvan Singh, Rebecca L. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Males have a higher risk for developing Parkinson's disease and parkinsonism after ischemic stroke than females. Although estrogens have been shown to play a neuroprotective role in Parkinson's disease, there is little information on androgens' actions on dopamine neurons. In this study, we examined the effects of androgens under conditions of oxidative stress to determine whether androgens play a neuroprotective or neurotoxic role in dopamine neuronal function. Mitochondrial function, cell viability, intracellular calcium levels, and mitochondrial calcium influx were examined in response to androgens under both nonoxidative and oxidative stress conditions. Briefly, N27 dopaminergic cells were exposed to the oxidative stressor, hydrogen peroxide, and physiologically relevant levels of testosterone or dihydrotestosterone, applied either before or after oxidative stress exposure. Androgens, alone, increased mitochondrial function via a calciumdependent mechanism. Androgen pretreatment protected cells from oxidative stress-induced cell death. However, treatment with androgens after the oxidative insult increased cell death, and these effects were, in part, mediated by calcium influx into the mitochondria. Interestingly, the negative effects of androgens were not blocked by either androgen or estrogen receptor antagonists. Instead, a putative membrane-associated androgen receptor was implicated. Overall, our results indicate that androgens are neuroprotective when oxidative stress levels are minimal, but when oxidative stress levels are elevated, androgens exacerbate oxidative stress damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4281-4292
Number of pages12
JournalEndocrinology
Volume154
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2013

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