Excitotoxic Insults Lead to Peroxiredoxin Hyperoxidation
Post-mitotic neurons must have strong antioxidant defenses to survive the lifespan of the organism. We recently showed that neuronal antioxidant defenses are boosted by synaptic activity. Elevated synaptic activity, acting via the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, enhances thioredoxin activity, facilitates the reduction of hyperoxidized peroxiredoxins, and promotes resistance to oxidative stress. In contrast, blockade of spontaneous synaptic NMDA receptor activity renders neurons highly sensitive to hyperoxidation of peroxiredoxins by oxidative insults. These NMDA receptor-dependent effects are mediated in part by a coordinated program of gene expression changes centered on the thioredoxin-peroxiredoxin system, a thiol-based enzymatic system which is an important reducer of oxidative stressors such as hydroperoxides. We show here that while too little glutamatergic activity can render neurons vulnerable to peroxiredoxin hyperoxidation, so can too much. Exposure of neurons to toxic concentrations of glutamate, activating both synaptic and extrasynaptic NMDA receptors, acutely induces peroxiredoxin hyperoxidation. Thus, the effect of NMDA receptor activity on the activity of neuronal peroxiredoxins follows the classical U-shaped dose response curve.