Parkinsonian-like motor deficits in Huntington's Disease (HD) patients are associated with abnormal dopamine neurotransmission in the striatum. Dopamine metabolism leads to the formation of oxidized dopamine quinones that exacerbates mitochondrial dysfunction with production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that eventually lead to neuronal cell death. We have previously shown that dopamine-induced oxidative stress triggers apoptotic cell death in dopaminergic neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells hyper-expressing the mutant polyQ Huntingtin (polyQ-Htt) protein. Dopamine toxicity was paralleled by impaired autophagy clearance of the polyQ-Htt aggregates. In this study, we found that Dopamine affects the stability and function of ATG4, a redox-sensitive cysteine-protein involved in the processing of LC3, a key step in the formation of autophagosomes. Resveratrol, a dietary polyphenol with anti-oxidant and pro-autophagic properties, has shown neuroprotective potential in HD. Yet the molecular mechanism through which Resveratrol can protect HD cells against DA is not known. Here, we show that Resveratrol prevents the generation of ROS, restores the level of ATG4, allows the lipidation of LC3, facilitates the degradation of polyQ-Htt aggregates and protects the cells from Dopamine toxicity.
The present findings provide a mechanistic explanation of the neuroprotective activity of Resveratrol and support its inclusion in a therapeutic regimen to slow down HD progression.