Pharmacological enhancement of TFEB-mediated autophagy alleviated neuronal death in oxidative stress-induced Parkinson’s disease models

Xu Xu Zhuang, Sheng Fang Wang, Yuan Tan, Ju Xian Song, Zhou Zhu, Zi Ying Wang, Ming Yue Wu, Cui Zan Cai, Zhi Jian Huang, Jie Qiong Tan, Huan Xing Su*, Min Li*, Jia Hong Lu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Autophagy, a conserved cellular degradation and recycling process, can be enhanced by nutrient depletion, oxidative stress or other harmful conditions to maintain cell survival. 6-Hydroxydopamine/ascorbic acid (6-OHDA/AA) is commonly used to induce experimental Parkinson’s disease (PD) lesions by causing oxidative damage to dopaminergic neurons. Activation of autophagy has been observed in the 6-OHDA-induced PD models. However, the mechanism and exact role of autophagy activation in 6-OHDA PD model remain inconclusive. In this study, we report that autophagy was triggered via mucolipin 1/calcium/calcineurin/TFEB (transcription factor EB) pathway upon oxidative stress induced by 6-OHDA/AA. Interestingly, overexpression of TFEB alleviated 6-OHDA/AA toxicity. Moreover, autophagy enhancers, Torin1 (an mTOR-dependent TFEB/autophagy enhancer) and curcumin analog C1 (a TFEB-dependent and mTOR-independent autophagy enhancer), significantly rescued 6-OHDA/AA-induced cell death in SH-SY5Y cells, iPSC-derived DA neurons and mice nigral DA neurons. The behavioral abnormality of 6-OHDA/AA-treated mice can also be rescued by Torin 1 or C1 administration. The protective effects of Torin 1 and C1 can be blocked by autophagy inhibitors like chloroquine (CQ) or by knocking down autophagy-related genes TFEB and ATG5. Taken together, this study supports that TFEB-mediated autophagy is a survival mechanism during oxidative stress and pharmacological enhancement of this process is a neuroprotective strategy against oxidative stress-associated PD lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128
Number of pages18
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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