DJ-1, the causative gene of a familial form of Parkinson's disease (PD), has been reported undergo oxidation preferentially at the 106th cysteine residue (Cys-106) under oxidative stress. Recently, it has been found that the levels of oxidized DJ-1 in erythrocytes of unmedicated PD patients are markedly higher than those in medicated PD patients and healthy subjects. In the present study, we examined the changes in oxidized DJ-1 levels in the brain and erythrocytes of PD animal models using specific antibodies against Cys-106-oxidized DJ-1. Treatment with PD model compounds such as 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) and 6-hydroxydopamine significantly elevated the levels of oxidized DJ-1 in erythrocytes. Immunohistochemical analysis also revealed that the number of oxidized DJ-1 antibody-positive cells in the substantia nigra of MPTP-treated mouse increased in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that the oxidative modification of DJ-1 in the brain and erythrocytes is involved in the pathogenesis of PD in animal models.
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