C-Jun N-Terminal kinase mediates lactacystin-induced dopamine neuron degeneration

Xuping Li, Yunlan Du, Xiaolan Fan, Dehua Yang, Guangrui Luo, Weidong Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Parkinson disease is characterized by the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. It has been proposed that dysfunction of the ubiquitin proteasome system plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson disease, but the mechanisms underlying ubiquitin proteasome system-related neuron degeneration are unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the proteasome inhibitor lactacystin induces phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and c-Jun, the release of cytochrome c, activation of both caspase-9 and caspase-3, and sequential apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons in vitro. Most of these effects can be attenuated by the JNK inhibitor SP600125. Furthermore, infusion of lactacystin in rats in vivo also leads to phosphorylation of JNK before nigral neuron loss; chronic administration of SP600125 also blocks this loss. These results indicate that JNK is involved in proteasome inhibition-induced dopaminergic neuron degeneration through caspase-3-mediated apoptotic pathways, suggesting that this kinase may be a therapeutic target for the prevention of substantia nigra pars compacta degeneration in Parkinson disease patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-944
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Apoptosis
  • C-Jun N-terminal kinase
  • Dopamine neuron degeneration
  • Lactacystin
  • Parkinson disease
  • Ubiquitin proteasome system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'C-Jun N-Terminal kinase mediates lactacystin-induced dopamine neuron degeneration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this