Nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species in Parkinson's disease

IUBMB Life. 2003 Jun;55(6):329-35. doi: 10.1080/1521654032000114320.


Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder of unknown pathogenesis. Oxidative stress has been proposed as one of several pathogenic hypotheses. Evidence for the participation of oxidative processes in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease have been obtained in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) model by the use of genetically altered mice. MPTP administration has been shown to increase levels of superoxide both intracellularly, via the inhibition of mitochondrial respiration and other mechanisms and extracellularly, via the activation of NADPH-oxidase in microglia. In addition to superoxide, nitric oxide production by nNOS or by microglial iNOS also contributes to the MPTP neurotoxocity. Mice with endowed defences against superoxide or with deficiency in the nNOS and iNOS are protected from MPTP toxicity suggesting that formation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen intermediates both intracellularly and extracellularly contributes to the demise of dopaminergic neurons. Similar contribution of reactive nitrogen and oxygen species may well underlie the neurodegenerative processes in Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / deficiency
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / chemically induced
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Nitric Oxide
  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase