Carbon Monoxide Stimulates Both Mitophagy And Mitochondrial Biogenesis to Mediate Protection Against Oxidative Stress in Astrocytes

Cláudia Figueiredo-Pereira, Beatriz Villarejo-Zori, Pedro C. Cipriano, Diana Tavares, Ignacio Ramírez-Pardo, Patricia Boya, Helena L.A. Vieira

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Astrocytes are key glial cells for the metabolic and functional support of the brain. Mitochondrial quality control (MQC), in particular the balance between mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis, is a major event for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an endogenous gasotransmitter that inhibits cell death and inflammation by targeting mitochondria. It is well established that CO promotes cytoprotection by increasing mitochondrial population and metabolism (oxidative phosphorylation). Thus, it is hypothesized that CO-induced cytoprotection may also be mediated by the balance between mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis. Herein, the carbon monoxide releasing molecule-A1 (CORM-A1) was used in primary cultures of astrocytes to assess CO role on mitochondrial turnover. PINK1/Parkin-dependent mitophagy was stimulated by CORM-A1 following 1 h of treatment. While at 24 h after treatment, CORM-A1 increased mitochondrial population, which may indicate mitochondrial biogenesis. In fact, mitochondrial biogenesis was confirmed by the enhancement of PGC-1α expression that upregulates several mitochondrial transcription factors. Furthermore, inhibition of mitophagy by knocking down PINK1 expression reverted CO-induced mitochondrial biogenesis, indicating that mitochondrial turnover is dependent on modulation of mitophagy. Finally, CORM-A1 prevented astrocytic cell death induced by oxidative stress in a mitophagy-dependent manner. In fact, whenever PINK1 was knocked down, CORM-A1-induced cytoprotection was lost. In summary, CORM-A1 stimulates mitochondrial turnover, which in turn prevents astrocytic cell death. CO cytoprotection depends on increasing mitochondrial population and on eliminating dysfunctional mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-863
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Astrocytes
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Cell death
  • Mitochondrial biogenesis
  • Mitophagy
  • PINK1


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