Suppression of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-induced nitric-oxide synthase 2 expression in astrocytes by a novel diindolylmethane analog protects striatal neurons against apoptosis. Academic Article uri icon


  • The progressive debilitation of motor functions in Parkinson's disease (PD) results from degeneration of dopaminergic neurons within the substantia nigra pars compacta of the midbrain. Long-term inflammatory activation of microglia and astrocytes plays a central role in the progression of PD and is characterized by activation of the nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) signaling cascade and subsequent overproduction of inflammatory cytokines and nitric oxide (NO). Suppression of this neuroinflammatory phenotype has received considerable attention as a potential target for chemotherapy, but there are no currently approved drugs that sufficiently address this problem. The data presented here demonstrate the efficacy of a novel anti-inflammatory diindolylmethane class compound, 1,1-bis(3'-indolyl)-1-(p-t-butylphenyl)methane (DIM-C-pPhtBu), in suppressing NF-kappaB-dependent expression of inducible nitric-oxide synthase (NOS2) and NO production in astrocytes exposed to the parkinsonian neurotoxicant 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) through a mechanism distinct from that described for the thiazolidinedione-class compound, rosiglitazone. Chromatin immunoprecipitations revealed that micromolar concentrations of DIM-C-pPhtBu prevented association of the p65 subunit of NF-kappaB with enhancer elements in the Nos2 promoter but had little effect on DNA binding of either peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma) or the nuclear corepressor NCoR2. Treatment with DIM-C-pPhtBu concomitantly suppressed NO production and protein nitration in MPTP-activated astrocytes and completely protected cocultured primary striatal neurons from astrocyte-dependent apoptosis. These data demonstrate the efficacy of DIM-C-pPhtBu in preventing the activation of NF-kappaB-dependent inflammatory genes in primary astrocytes and suggest that this class of compounds may be effective neuroprotective anti-inflammatory agents in vivo.

published proceedings

  • Mol Pharmacol

author list (cited authors)

  • Carbone, D. L., Popichak, K. A., Moreno, J. A., Safe, S., & Tjalkens, R. B.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Carbone, David L||Popichak, Katriana A||Moreno, Julie A||Safe, Stephen||Tjalkens, Ronald B

publication date

  • January 2009