A role for 12-lipoxygenase in nerve cell death caused by glutathione depletion

Neuron. 1997 Aug;19(2):453-63. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80953-8.


An early and highly specific decrease in glutathione (GSH) in the substantia nigra is associated with Parkinson's disease, and low levels of GSH lead to the degeneration of cultured dopaminergic neurons. Using immature cortical neurons and a clonal nerve cell line, it is shown that a decrease in GSH triggers the activation of neuronal 12-lipoxygenase (12-LOX), which leads to the production of peroxides, the influx of Ca2+, and ultimately to cell death. The supporting evidence includes: 1) inhibitors of arachidonate metabolism and 12-LOX block cell death induced by GSH depletion; 2) there is an increase in 12-LOX activity and a membrane translocation in HT22 cells, and an induction of the enzyme in primary cortical neurons following the reduction of GSH; 3) 12-LOX is directly inhibited by GSH; and 4) exogenous arachidonic acid potentiates cell death. These data show that the LOX pathway is a critical intermediate in at least some forms of neuronal degeneration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonate 12-Lipoxygenase / pharmacology*
  • Cell Death / drug effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects*
  • Glutamic Acid / pharmacology
  • Glutathione / pharmacology*
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Glutamic Acid
  • Arachidonate 12-Lipoxygenase
  • Glutathione