The involvement of environmental heavy metals in Parkinson's disease (PD) has been suggested by epidemiologic studies; however, the mechanism of this effect is unknown. PD is characterized by the aggregation of α-synuclein in Lewy bodies. We previously showed that Pb2+ accelerates proteasomal activity. Therefore, we examined the effect of Pb2+, Ga3+, and Cu2+ on α-synuclein in human SH-SY5Y cells. The heavy metals induced an increase in heme-oxygenase-1 levels without significant cell death or ROS generation. The metals inhibited ALA-dehydratase, which is the inhibitory subunit of the proteasome, thereby accelerating proteasomal activity and decreasing protein levels of CDK-1 and PBGD. However, α-synuclein protein levels increased after exposure to metals, similar to the effect obtained with the proteasome inhibitor, hemin, suggesting that α-synuclein is inaccessible to proteasomal degradation. Indeed, electron microscopy revealed the formation of aggresomes in Pb2+- or hemin-treated cells. Thus, although heavy metals enhance proteasomal activity, α-synuclein is protected from degradation, and its protein levels and aggregation are increased.
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology|
|State||Published - 2009|
- A53T mutant
- Heavy metals