The protective effect of melatonin on methamphetamine-induced calpain-dependent death pathway in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cultured cells

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Methamphetamine (METH) is a potent psychostimulant drug that may cause neuronal cell degeneration. The underlying mechanisms of METH-induced neuronal toxicity remains poorly understood. In this study, we investigated an important role of calpain-dependent cascades in methamphetamine-induced toxicity in human dopaminergic neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cultured cell lines. In addition, the protective effect of melatonin against METH-induced calpain-dependent death pathway was also investigated. The results of this study show that METH significantly decreased cell viability and tyrosine hydroxylase phosphorylation in SH-SY5Y cultured cells. Melatonin reversed the toxic effect of METH by inducing cell viability. In addition, melatonin was able to restore the reduction in mitochondrial function and phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase in SH-SY5Y treated cells. An induction of calpain expression and activity but a reduction of calpain inhibitor (calpastatin) protein levels were observed in SH-SY5Y cells treated with METH but these effects were diminished by melatonin. These results implicated calpain-dependent death pathways in the processes of METH-induced toxicity and also indicated that melatonin has the capacity to reverse this toxic effect in SH-SY5Y cultured cells.

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