Nitric oxide: An antioxidant and neuroprotector

Kochupurackal P. Mohanakumar, Bobby Thomas, Sudarshana M. Sharma, Dhanasekharan Muralikrishnan, Rukhsana Chowdhury, Chuang C. Chiueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Indirect evidence, including neuroprotection against 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-neurotoxicity by nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitors and resistance of transgenic animals deficient in NOS, is controversial. We have reviewed evidence in favor of oxidative stress during the development of MPTP-neurotoxicity and the influence of antioxidants, including nitric oxide (NO) and NO donors, on MPTP-induced dopaminergic neurotoxicity. Systemic administration of MPTP causes dose-dependent generation of hydroxyl radicals (OH) in vivo in the striatum in mice; OH scavengers protect dopaminergic neurons from this insult. On the other hand the role of NO in MPTP-neurotoxicity is controversial. Hitherto, no direct evidence for the involvement of NO in MPTP neurotoxicity has been available. MPTP does not affect inducible-NOS mRNA level or its expression in SN or the striatum. Nitroglycerine, a NO donor, can attenuate MPTP-induced dopamine depletion in the striatum by virtue of its OH scavenging action. Several other NO donors have also been shown to scavenge the OH generated, following Fenton chemistry in vitro, and to protect against in vivo dopaminergic neurotoxicity by small mass iron complex formation. This evidence suggests that NO renders protection against MPTP-induced OH-mediated nigrostriatal lesions, acting as an antioxidant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-401
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Ferrous citrate
  • Free radical scavenger
  • Hydroxyl radicals
  • Inducible nitric oxide synthase mRNA
  • MPTP
  • Nitric oxide donors
  • Nitroglycerine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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