5-Hydroxytryptamine 1A receptor activation protects against N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced apoptotic cell death in striatal and mesencephalic cultures

Lalitha Madhavan, William J. Freed, Vellareddy Anantharam, Anumantha G. Kanthasamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations


Apoptosis and glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity may play a role in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD). In the present study, we investigated whether stimulation of the 5-hydroxytryptamine 1A (5-HT1A) receptor attenuates N-methyl-D-aspartate- (NMDA) and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+)-induced apoptotic cell death in cell culture models. A brief exposure (20 min) of M213-20 striatal cells to NMDA and glutamate produced a delayed increase in caspase-3 activity and DNA fragmentation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. NMDA-induced caspase-3 activity and DNA fragmentation were almost completely blocked by the 5-HT1A agonists 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)-tetralin (8-OH-DPAT) and (R)-5-fluoro-8 hydroxy-2-(dipropylamino)-tetralin (R-UH-301). Additionally, the protective effects of 8-OH-DPAT and R-UH-301 on NMDA-induced caspase-3 activation and apoptosis were reversed by pretreatment with the 5-HT1A antagonists N-[2-[4-(2-methoxyphenyl)-1-piperazinyl] ethyl]-N-(2-pyridinyl) cyclohexane carboxamide (WAY 100635) and S-UH-301, respectively. Similarly, dose and time-dependent increases in caspase-3 activity and DNA fragmentation were observed in rat primary mesencephalic neurons after a brief exposure to NMDA and glutamate. Caspase-3 activation and DNA fragmentation in primary mesencephalic neurons were almost completely inhibited by 8-OHDPAT. This neuroprotective effect of 8-OH-DPAT was reversed by WAY 100635. Additionally, 8-OH-DPAT blocked tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive cell death after NMDA exposure and also almost completely attenuated the NMDA-induced Ca2+ influx in primary mesencephalic cultures. Furthermore, 8-OHDPAT and R-UH-301 blocked apoptotic cell death in the primary mesencephalic neurons that were exposed to the Parkinsonian toxin MPP+. Together, these results suggest that 5-HT1A receptor stimulation may be a promising pharmacological approach in the development of neuroprotective agents for PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-923
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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