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Impairment of enzymatic antioxidant defenses is associated with bilirubin-induced neuronal cell death in the cerebellum of Ugt1 KO mice.


ABSTRACT: Severe hyperbilirubinemia is toxic during central nervous system development. Prolonged and uncontrolled high levels of unconjugated bilirubin lead to bilirubin-induced encephalopathy and eventually death by kernicterus. Despite extensive studies, the molecular and cellular mechanisms of bilirubin toxicity are still poorly defined. To fill this gap, we investigated the molecular processes underlying neuronal injury in a mouse model of severe neonatal jaundice, which develops hyperbilirubinemia as a consequence of a null mutation in the Ugt1 gene. These mutant mice show cerebellar abnormalities and hypoplasia, neuronal cell death and die shortly after birth because of bilirubin neurotoxicity. To identify protein changes associated with bilirubin-induced cell death, we performed proteomic analysis of cerebella from Ugt1 mutant and wild-type mice. Proteomic data pointed-out to oxidoreductase activities or antioxidant processes as important intracellular mechanisms altered during bilirubin-induced neurotoxicity. In particular, they revealed that down-representation of DJ-1, superoxide dismutase, peroxiredoxins 2 and 6 was associated with hyperbilirubinemia in the cerebellum of mutant mice. Interestingly, the reduction in protein levels seems to result from post-translational mechanisms because we did not detect significant quantitative differences in the corresponding mRNAs. We also observed an increase in neuro-specific enolase 2 both in the cerebellum and in the serum of mutant mice, supporting its potential use as a biomarker of bilirubin-induced neurological damage. In conclusion, our data show that different protective mechanisms fail to contrast oxidative burst in bilirubin-affected brain regions, ultimately leading to neurodegeneration.

SUBMITTER: Bortolussi G 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4669693 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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