Microsomal epoxide hydrolase deletion enhances tyrosine hydroxylase phosphorylation in mice after MPTP treatment

Mei Liu, Randy Hunter, Xuan V. Nguyen, Hyoung Chun Kim, Guoying Bing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Parkinson's disease (PD) is the most prevalent neurodegenerative movement disorder. Epidemiological studies have suggested most cases of PD are linked to environmental risk factors. Microsomal epoxide hydrolase (mEH) is a conserved enzyme that catalyzes hydrolysis of a large number of epoxide intermediates such as drugs and epoxides of environmental toxins. We hypothesize that changes in mEH are involved in the pathogenesis of PD by modulating the vulnerability of dopaminergic neurons to environmental stress. Herein we reported that acute treatment with the neurotoxin MPTP (1-methyl-4-phemyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine) markedly increased the mEH immunoreactivity in the nigrostriatal system of C57BL/6 mice. Next, mEH knockout (KO) mice were used, and we found that tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive cell loss was significantly lower in the substantia nigra of mEH KO mice compared with wild-type (WT) mice after MPTP treatment. The mean dopamine turnover ratios were significantly increased in MPTP-treated mEH KO mice compared with WT. In addition, TH is the rate-limiting enzyme for dopamine biosynthesis, and its activity is mainly regulated by TH phosphorylation at Ser-31 (pSer31) and Ser-40 (pSer40). Double immunofluorescence showed that both pSer31 and pSer40 are completely colocalized in total TH-positive cells. However, immunoblotting confirmed that there was a significantly higher level of pSer31 in mEH-KO mice when compared with WT mice after MPTP, and no marked differences among TH and its phosphorylation levels occurred after saline injection. These data suggested that mEH deficiency facilitates TH phosphorylation in the nigrostriatal dopamine system, which may be associated with an increased resistance of dopaminergic neurons to environmental toxins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2792-2801
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2008


  • Epoxide hydrolase
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Substantia nigra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Microsomal epoxide hydrolase deletion enhances tyrosine hydroxylase phosphorylation in mice after MPTP treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this