Sodium butyrate rescues dopaminergic cells from alpha-synuclein-induced transcriptional deregulation and DNA damage

Isabel Paiva, Raquel Pinho, Maria Angeliki Pavlou, Magali Hennion, Pauline Wales, Anna Lena Schütz, Ashish Rajput, Éva M. Szego, Cemil Kerimoglu, Ellen Gerhardt, Ana Cristina Rego, André Fischer, Stefan Bonn, Tiago F. Outeiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


Alpha-synuclein (aSyn) is considered a major culprit in Parkinson's disease (PD) pathophysiology. However, the precise molecular function of the protein remains elusive. Recent evidence suggests that aSyn may play a role on transcription regulation, possibly by modulating the acetylation status of histones. Our study aimed at evaluating the impact of wild-type (WT) and mutant A30P aSyn on gene expression, in a dopaminergic neuronal cell model, and decipher potential mechanisms underlying aSyn-mediated transcriptional deregulation. We performed gene expression analysis using RNA-sequencing in Lund Human Mesencephalic (LUHMES) cells expressing endogenous (control) or increased levels of WT or A30P aSyn. Compared to control cells, cells expressing both aSyn variants exhibited robust changes in the expression of several genes, including downregulation of major genes involved in DNA repair. WT aSyn, unlike A30P aSyn, promoted DNA damage and increased levels of phosphorylated p53. In dopaminergic neuronal cells, increased aSyn expression led to reduced levels of acetylated histone 3. Importantly, treatment with sodium butyrate, a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi), rescued WT aSyn-induced DNA damage, possibly via upregulation of genes involved in DNA repair. Overall, our findings provide novel and compelling insight into the mechanisms associated with aSyn neurotoxicity in dopaminergic cells, which could be ameliorated with an HDACi. Future studies will be crucial to further validate these findings and to define novel possible targets for intervention in PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2231-2246
Number of pages16
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2017


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