d-Cysteine promotes dendritic development in primary cultured cerebellar Purkinje cells via hydrogen sulfide production

Mol Cell Neurosci. 2018 Dec;93:36-47. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2018.10.002. Epub 2018 Oct 19.


Hydrogen sulfide and reactive sulfur species are regulators of physiological functions, have antioxidant effects against oxidative stresses, and are endogenously generated from l-cysteine. Recently, a novel pathway that generates hydrogen sulfide and reactive sulfur species from d-cysteine has been identified. d-Amino acid oxidase (DAO) is involved in this pathway and, among the various brain regions, is especially abundant in the cerebellum. d-Cysteine has been found to be a better substrate in the generation of hydrogen sulfide in the cerebellum than l-cysteine. Therefore, d-cysteine might be a novel neuroprotectant against cerebellar diseases such as spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA). However, it remains unknown if d-cysteine affects cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs), which are important for cerebellar functions and are frequently degenerated in SCA patients. In the present study, we investigated whether the production of hydrogen sulfide from d-cysteine affects the dendritic development of cultured PCs. d-Cysteine was found to enhance the dendritic development of PCs significantly, while l-cysteine impaired it. The effect of d-cysteine was inhibited by simultaneous treatment with DAO inhibitors and was reproduced by treatment with 3-mercaptopyruvate, a metabolite of d-cysteine produced by the action of DAO, and disodium sulfide, a donor of hydrogen sulfide. In addition, hydrogen sulfide was immediately produced in cerebellar primary cultures after treatment with d-cysteine and 3-mercaptopyruvate. These findings suggest that d-cysteine enhances the dendritic development of primary cultured PCs via the generation of hydrogen sulfide.

Keywords: Dendritic development; Hydrogen sulfide; Purkinje cells; d-Amino acid oxidase; d-Cysteine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cysteine / analogs & derivatives
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Cysteine / pharmacology*
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / metabolism*
  • Neurogenesis / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Purkinje Cells / drug effects*
  • Purkinje Cells / metabolism
  • Rats


  • Antioxidants
  • 3-mercaptopyruvic acid
  • Cysteine
  • Hydrogen Sulfide