Fluoxetine prevents MPTP-induced loss of dopaminergic neurons by inhibiting microglial activation

Young C. Chung, Sang R. Kim, Ju Young Park, Eun S. Chung, Keun W. Park, So Y. Won, Eugene Bok, Minyoung Jin, Eun S. Park, Sung Hwa Yoon, Hyuk W. Ko, Yoon Seong Kim, Byung K. Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by degeneration of nigrostriatal dopaminergic (DA) neurons. Mice treated with MPTP (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6- tetrahydropyridine) exhibit microglial activation-induced oxidative stress and inflammation, and nigrostriatal DA neuronal damage, and thus serve as an experimental model of PD. Here, we report that fluoxetine, one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, prevents MPTP-induced degeneration of nigrostriatal DA neurons and increases striatal dopamine levels with the partial motor recovery. This was accompanied by inhibiting transient expression of proinflammatory cytokines and inducible nitric oxide synthase; and attenuating microglial NADPH oxidase activation, reactive oxygen species/reactive nitrogen species production, and consequent oxidative damage. Interestingly, fluoxetine was found to protect DA neuronal damage from 1-methyl-4-phenyl-pyridinium (MPP+) neurotoxicity in co-cultures of mesencephalic neurons and microglia but not in neuron-enriched mesencephalic cultures devoid of microglia. The present in vivo and in vitro findings show that fluoxetine may possess anti-inflammatory properties and inhibit glial activation-mediated oxidative stress. Therefore, we carefully propose that neuroprotection of fluoxetine might be associated with its anti-inflammatory properties and could be employed as novel therapeutic agents for PD and other disorders associated with neuroinflammation and microglia-derived oxidative damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-974
Number of pages12
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 May

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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