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Neurology Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 734703, 11 pages
Research Article

Differential Expression of Tyrosine Hydroxylase Protein and Apoptosis-Related Genes in Differentiated and Undifferentiated SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells Treated with MPP+

1Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
2Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Dentistry, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

Received 8 September 2015; Revised 20 October 2015; Accepted 25 October 2015

Academic Editor: Mohammed Rachidi

Copyright © 2015 Kawinthra Khwanraj et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell line has been used as a dopaminergic cell model for Parkinson’s disease research. Whether undifferentiated or differentiated SH-SY5Y cells are more suitable remains controversial. This study aims to evaluate the expression of apoptosis-related mRNAs activated by MPP+ and evaluate the differential expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in undifferentiated and retinoic acid- (RA-) induced differentiated cells. The western blot results showed a gradual decrease in TH in undifferentiated cells and a gradual increase in TH in differentiated cells from days 4 to 10 after cell plating. Immunostaining revealed a gradual increase in TH along with neuritic outgrowth in differentiated cells on days 4 and 7 of RA treatment. For the study on cell susceptibility to MPP+ and the expression of apoptosis-related genes, MTT assay showed a decrease in cell viability to approximately 50% requiring 500 and 1000 μM of MPP+ for undifferentiated and RA-differentiated cells, respectively. Using real-time RT-PCR, treatment with 500 μM MPP+ led to significant increases in the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, p53, and caspase-3 in undifferentiated cells but was without significance in differentiated cells. In conclusion, differentiated cells may be more suitable, and the shorter duration of RA differentiation may make the SH-SY5Y cell model more accessible.