eISSN: 1509-572x
ISSN: 1641-4640
Folia Neuropathologica
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vol. 56
Original paper

Neurotoxic effects of domoic acid on dopaminergic neurons in primary mesencephalic cell culture

Khaled Radad, Mubarak Al-Shraim, Ahmed Al-Emam, Rudolf Moldzio, Wolf-Dieter Rausch

Folia Neuropathol 2018; 56 (1): 39-48
Online publish date: 2018/03/28
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Domoic acid is a potent marine neurotoxin produced by certain species of the diatom genus Pseudonitzschia. To our knowledge, there are no studies that have investigated neurotoxic effects of domoic acid on dopaminergic neurons. Accordingly, the present study was carried out to investigate the potential neurotoxic effects of domoic acid on dopaminergic neurons in primary mesencephalic cell culture.

Material and methods
Cultures prepared from embryonic mouse mesencephala (total of 250 embryos) were treated with different concentrations of domoic acid (0.1, 1, 10, 100 µM) on the 10th DIV for 48 h. On the 12th DIV, culture media were used for measurement of lactate dehydrogenase and cultured cells were subjected to immunostaining for tyrosine hydroxylase, neuronal nuclear antigen and glial fibrillary acidic protein, and fluorescence staining using H2DCFDA, JC-1 and DAPI stains. Moreover, roles of AMPA/KA and NMDA receptors in domoic acid neurotoxicity were also investigated.

Domoic acid significantly decreased the number of dopaminergic neurons, decreased the expression of neuronal nuclear antigen and slightly affected astrocyte populations, and increased the release of lactate dehydrogenase into the culture media. AMPA/KA receptor antagonist NBQX but not NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 significantly inhibited the neurotoxic effect of domoic acid on dopaminergic neurons. H2DCFDA, JC-1 and DAPI fluorescence staining, respectively, revealed that DomA slightly raised ROS production, and significantly decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and increased apoptotic cell death of cultured cells.

The current study presents for the first time the neurotoxic effects of domoic acid on dopaminergic neurons and this effect appears to be attributed to activation of AMPA/KA receptors on dopaminergic neurons.


domoic acid, dopaminergic neurons, neurotoxicity, Parkinson’s disease, marine, diatoms

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