Minocycline attenuates iron neurotoxicity in cortical cell cultures

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Aug 21;386(2):322-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.06.026. Epub 2009 Jun 10.


Iron neurotoxicity may contribute to the pathogenesis of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). The tetracycline derivative minocycline is protective in ICH models, due putatively to inhibition of microglial activation. Although minocycline also chelates iron, its effect on iron neurotoxicity has not been reported, and was examined in this study. Cortical cultures treated with 10 microM ferrous sulfate for 24h sustained loss of most neurons and an increase in malondialdehyde. Minocycline prevented this injury, with near-complete protection at 30 microM. Two other inhibitors of microglial activation, doxycycline and macrophage/microglia inhibitory factor, were ineffective. Oxidation of isolated culture membranes by iron was also inhibited by minocycline. Consistent with prior observations, minocycline chelated iron in a siderophore colorometric assay; at concentrations less than 100 microM, its activity exceeded that of deferoxamine. These results suggest that attenuation of iron neurotoxicity may contribute to the beneficial effect of minocycline in hemorrhagic stroke and other CNS injury models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / complications
  • Cytoprotection*
  • Deferoxamine / pharmacology
  • Iron / toxicity*
  • Iron Chelating Agents / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Minocycline / pharmacology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / etiology
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / prevention & control


  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Iron
  • Minocycline
  • Deferoxamine